on...topic: life

Sunday, February 12, 2012

things I learned from running a half-marathon

Sunday, August 14, 2011

losing 10 years

In January 2008, I weighed 190 pounds.

Well, okay, I didn't weigh 190 pounds. According to our brand-new Wii Fit scale, I weighed 189.6 pounds. It was close enough to round up. It was the most I had ever seen myself weigh.

Up until that point, I didn't think that I was really in bad shape. Sure, I couldn't run a 5K, as I had proven just a few months back in the Race for the Cure, but come on...that's three miles. And sure, I had probably needed the better part of a week to recover from the exertion. And yes, my size 34 shorts fit...if only just. They were probably shrinking in the washing machine, right? (Yes, I actually used that line on myself!)

But the scale made it hard to deny. In the past, I had made a bit of a joke about it, but this was starting to get serious. I'm only 5'8". 190 pounds on such a frame wasn't healthy, no matter how I wanted to spin it.

I was living a sedentary life. It was literally possible for me to go an entire day without taking 200 steps if I played my cards right. I wasn't ever really overindulging, but over time, it was starting to show.

At the time, my decision was that the Wii Fit would help me out. And for a while, it did. But then I stopped using it. I lost about 10 pounds during my week of mulch-slinging, but put some of it back on afterwards. Following a vegetarian diet for a month cut about five pounds off, but I started to gain again.

It was in Aiken, South Carolina, of all places, that pieces started to fit into place. My sister was working through the "Couch to 5K" program, and enlisted my help in helping her run while we were there for a Masters practice round. "Sure," I said. How hard could it be?

The morning of the run, she told me that it would be 10 minutes of running, 3 of walking, then 10 more of running. (Veterans of the C25K program know that means week 6, day 2.) I told her to set her pace, and I'd try to keep up. So we set out. About seven minutes or so into the run, she asked if I was doing okay, and I said that I was. Then she asked the magic question: "Feel like you've got something to prove?" My response was simple - "maybe to myself". I managed to make it through the whole way, but man, was I sore for the rest of the week.

And I thought to myself, "It shouldn't be like this. I mean, I'm 33 years old. I'm in the prime of my life. I should not be as out of shape as I am." So, eventually, my mom had the idea that everyone in the family should try the program, and my competitive nature came to the forefront. I can do this.

When I started the program, I weighed somewhere between 175 and 180 pounds. I didn't have a weight-loss goal in mind, except "less than I am now." I had no idea how fast I could hope to run a 5K, but I figured that it was about 3.1 miles. For whatever reason, I chose 32 minutes as my goal. "That's just a little slower than a 10-minute mile...I can do that." I set my sights on the Race for the Cure in October.

I discovered that I like running - as long as I have music. I tried it once without music and it was tough. I liked being able to say "I went farther today than I did last time", and as I began to run more than walk, "I didn't give up and walk on that big hill" or "I got through the entire 5K trail today!" I started weighing myself on the Wii Fit again, and I noticed the weight start to come off.

Then Kelly and I ran a "practice" 5K after five weeks of our program, back in July. I had no idea how I'd do, but I figured I was in better shape than that time at Race for the Cure, so if I could do it then in about 40 minutes, why not 35 today? So my goal for that day was 35 minutes.

I obliterated that time. I finished in 28:54.

I didn't have the stamina to run the entire way yet - not even close - but I was much better off than before. And I wasn't that sore the next day. I was ready to try it again!

Fast forward another five weeks, to last Saturday. Now I was fired up. I even had a goal/mantra - "160/27". 160 pounds being my goal weight, 27 minutes being my 5K time. I wasn't quite there yet on the weight; I had less than two pounds to go, but I thought that I could make the time at the 5K.

Well, I destroyed that time, too. 24:12. I took over 4 1/2 minutes off of the time I had set in the "practice" race. And this time, I ran the entire way!

Which leads me to this morning. I stepped on the Wii Fit scale, and it did something a scale had not done for me since 2000. It stopped before it reached 160. I weighed 159.6 pounds - exactly 30 pounds less than I did 3 1/2 years ago. The size 32 shorts that I had bought during all this because my 34s were comically large? They are starting to fall off of me.

I don't say this as someone who thinks he's made it all the way yet. I don't think that I will be actively trying to lose any more weight, but I do want to redistribute the weight that I have. I can see my body getting closer to the body that I want to have. And my 5K goal, which was once 32 minutes at the Race for the Cure? Well, I'm shooting for the moon - ten minutes less than that. 22 minutes.

Why not? I feel like I still have something to prove.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

halfway through the Daniel diet

To answer a few questions:

Thursday, February 4, 2010

the Daniel diet

On February 1, I became a vegetarian.

Okay, so it's not a permanent change. I'm only doing it for this month. So, why? you might ask. There are a few reasons.

The first is that I just wanted to see how it would be. I like pretty much all vegetables and grains, so I didn't think that I would run out of things that I'd enjoy eating. There have been times where I haven't eaten meat in a couple of days. I just thought it might be interesting to extend it to a month and see what would happen.

The second is the potential health benefits it would give me. In general, people who are vegetarian tend to be healthier and weigh closer to "ideal" body weight. I have not exactly let myself go over the years, but I have a little fat that I wouldn't mind losing. If, as a part of this process, I can drop a few pounds, so much the better. I'm also interested in seeing if processing less "heavy" things like meat would allow my body to function better as a whole. Sometimes I'm just sluggish in the afternoon, and caffeine doesn't really do a lot for me. I'm interested in seeing if a change in diet will help.

Finally, this represents a bit of a culinary quest. My cooking skills aren't really anything to write home about, but it's easy to just make a cold cut sandwich at lunch, or get burgers or fried chicken fingers. Kelly's not doing the vegetarian-only thing with me, but she's being very supportive, and as a result we're going to try new recipes.

I am following a lacto-ovo vegetarian diet, which means that I can eat milk, cheese, and eggs. I'm not interested in doing anything more strict. I like cheese way too much for that to happen!

So it's been four days into the experiment, and I have actually really enjoyed it so far. I've only duplicated a meal once (I had salad for lunch two times). We've made rotini with sauce and mixed vegetables, bean and cheese baked nachos, and tonight we had eggplant Parmesan for dinner. Yum.

I'll try to tweet about my experience as I go through this month.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

back but not yet 100%

New York was a lot of fun, even if I did get the swine flu while I was there. Hopefully, we'll have some pictures up soon.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

yard version 2.0!

For the past couple of weeks, I have made it a personal agenda to give our yard a makeover. Since we bought the house, there have been things that I haven't been able to change to fit my liking. Much of that had to do with the fact that it just plain gets hot in Alabama in the summer. Also, it was pretty overwhelming...I'd say about 60 percent of our yard area was covered with leaves prior to this. That included all of our beds in the front yard and the vast majority of the back yard as well. The back yard was a combination of this ugly gray "forest floor" effect, bare earth where nothing could make headway, overgrown areas of weeds, vines, and some small plants, and some grass struggling to grow amidst the wild violets that had made major inroads in our yard.

Now, as some of you know, I'm not afraid of yard work. I have a long history with it. I can tell you stories of hauling dirt around the yard, creating new beds from scratch on summer Saturdays, planting literally over a hundred red tops along the perimeter of my parents' yard...the list goes on and on. Somewhere during that time I figured out that I actually kind of enjoyed it. I learned pretty quickly, though, that I would enjoy it more when it was actually my yard that was the one being worked on.

Well, the years passed, and we finally got around to the part of our major purchase list that involved the yard. You've already heard about the chipper/shredder, which I have put to good use creating leaf mulch (home improvement stores call it "soil conditioner" and sell it for $3 a bag). Well, last Wednesday evening I took it up a notch. That was when the dump truck from the landscape materials company came to my driveway, not once, not twice, but three times with a load of mulch. According to a home improvement website, a cubic foot of pine bark mulch weighs about 22.5 pounds. This was 24 cubic yards - over seven tons of mulch.

I finished spreading it Friday evening. Ready to see the results? (By the way, these pictures are 80-100K each, so if you're still on dial-up, it'll be slow...)

The Front Yard



This was a major upgrade from what it was. At first, the beds just had leaves, and the edge of the front yard was down to the bare soil from being washed over so many times (the storm drain next to the property still hasn't been cleaned out...I'm really frustrated with the county highway department, but that's another entry).

Anyway, what you're seeing here is after my prepping the beds with a lot of the leaf-based mulch that I made last weekend. Then the pine bark mulch went over it. I like the overall effect, especially at the edge of the yard. It really sets it off from the forest, along with the forsythia.

The Back Yard

First, the new seating area!


This entire area was once just a tangled mess of vines, weeds, and old plants. We stripped it down to bare soil except for three bushes and the monkey grass you see at the right-hand side of the picture. I used the hardwood mulch that I had chipped up and some of the smooth stones that we found in the process of clearing the area out...


and we laid the path you see there. I think it's my favorite part of the entire yard...it meanders underneath the branches, inviting you to come sit at the seating area. Yep, that's the bistro set that was on the deck. I don't know if we'll keep it there for now, but that will probably be the place it ends up. Whenever we build our new deck, we'll be getting a bigger table for it, so this is the perfect place for the bistro set to end up.


Kelly is in charge of "whimsy" for this area. Tiny birds will live in these houses. :)


This is Kelly's (and as you might guess, the dogs' as well) favorite part of the new area. The center ball is actually a daisy ball, which made Kelly fall in love with the fountain the second she laid eyes on it. It's nice to have a water feature in this area...it adds to the overall atmosphere.


Here's a shot taken from Kelly's chair. The dogs actually do a pretty good job of coming right up the pathway!

Now, going from left to right, here's a panoramic view of the back yard taken from the deck...




Now, I know that this won't win us a beautification award or anything. But to me, it feels miles ahead of where it was before. I wish we had taken "before" pics for reference. I told Kelly as we were eating lunch in the new area today that before I felt ashamed of our yard. I didn't want to bring people to the back yard because it just looked that bad to me, and I didn't really like the front that much, either. But for a little over $500 and two weeks of hard labor, we've made the yard pretty respectable. Oh, and I now fit comfortably into size 32 jeans again.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

working vacation stats

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

another year, another tax return

This past weekend, Kelly and I did our taxes. This year, we did them using a software product and e-filing the returns. This was a first, as I did them manually the previous two years. It was also the first year we ever itemized, and the first year that we got a refund! We'll probably end up using it to build our fence. Of course, I'd rather have had the money all last year, but that's okay...we'll just adjust the W-4 and move on.

However, after last year's fun, I'm just happy that the returns were accepted and that we're done with it for another year.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

scary

Last night, Kelly and I went shopping for groceries and pet supplies.

Yeah, I know that a lot of it was one-time purchases, but still...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

last weekend without a pup

We're at my sister and brother-in-law's house this weekend. After this, we'll probably be staying at home for a while because London won't be ready for trips (and we probably won't be ready to take him!)

We're going to a minor league hockey game tonight. I haven't been to one in years, but I'm a hockey fan anyway, and it's pretty fun to go. According to my sister, they're really good tickets - right by the boards. So it should be a good time.

Monday, January 28, 2008

benefits of Bible study

So I went 2-for-3 this weekend on updating the site. Hm.

I've been playing one of my games a lot recently. I'll get too far into it and then stop only when I'm tired and realize that I have to work tomorrow. Not really good on a number of fronts. See, I didn't read the chapter I was supposed to yesterday, either. I did read my Bible - the passages we read in church - but not the one that I was supposed to read for the study. So tonight I did it and the one for today.

The difference that it makes to me when I have read my Bible that day is really astounding. I'd forgotten about it. Sure, it just makes me feel good, and there's a sense of accomplishment, but there's also a deeper understanding of why I believe what I do. Some days I'll read a commentary about the chapter that I'm on in addition to the chapter itself; that's been useful as well.

So even though I "missed a day" yesterday, I've been happy with how this particular resolution has gone so far.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

that's a good Saturday

I started today by getting up early. Normally, this wouldn't be that great a thing, but I went to bed early too so it evened out. This morning, I went to Wal-Mart and bought an electric blanket for Kelly. Last night, we bought a radiator from Home Depot. Between those two things, hopefully, our gas bill should go down and Kelly's comfort level should go up.

Once Kelly got home from work, we watched the Alabama-Auburn basketball game. I don't follow college basketball nearly as much as I used to (I know, one of my two favorite teams is two-time defending national champs...), but when the two teams play just about anything against each other and it's televised, I'll watch it. It was even better that Bama probably played their best game of the year and whupped some tiger tail.

After that, we went over to Ricky and Tammy's for an early 30th birthday party for Ricky. (Already this month, he's become an "old man"...now he'll be an old man.) Katelyn, of course, is as cute as ever. It was a nice laid-back evening...pizza and some old Animaniacs episodes.

Add all that up, and that's a good Saturday for me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

prepping for a pup

I don't think that I've made an official announcement on the site yet, but we're getting a dog. True to my desire from long ago, it will be a chocolate lab, and we're naming it London, after Jack London.

Yes, I know some of you are asking, "Why not a husky?" Well, I love huskies, too. In fact, I'd probably put it second on my list of favorite dogs. The problem is, we live in Alabama, not Alaska. And it's just so warm in summer. But there's also another issue - huskies aren't as easily trainable. I want to make sure that we can get a well-trained dog the first time around. And what better dog than a Lab for easily-trained?

There is a downside to the Lab, and it relates to size. Kelly hasn't had a large dog before, and trying to deal with one, especially as boisterous as a Lab, can be intimidating at first. So we asked the breeder for one that's a little more laid-back.

So we've got most of the basics now - a crate, toys, barriers...about the only thing that I can think of right now that we haven't gotten are food and water bowls. We'll be getting him in about 2 1/2 weeks, and we can't wait!

Monday, January 21, 2008

good flannel day

I had the day off today, and so did Kelly. What did we do? Well, for the most part, not much at all. We did put together our golf organizer, and we were going to take our recycling to the community bin, but it was already full.

Other than that, I wore my flannel, played around on the computer, watched some TV, etc. Not really anything spectacular. For the most part, just how I like days off.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

snow day pictures

The backyard, just as it started to snow. You probably can't see snowflakes in this small version of the picture (you can in the big one).

Kelly trying her hand - er, tongue - at catching snowflakes.

I try to reel in a big one.

Backyard looks a little different, doesn't it?

Obviously, our roof isn't normally white.

This snowball ended up on my sweatshirt about a minute after this picture was taken.

Now the snowmen look more at home, don't they?

Our little addition to the snowman family. He lasted about an hour before toppling over the railing.

Later that day, we made our first fire in the fireplace.

Looks cozy, doesn't it?

Saturday, January 19, 2008

snow day

Oh yes, it happened. Although it didn't start until after the morning light. I stayed up until about 2:30 and it didn't snow. I woke up around 8:30 this morning; I think it started about 15 minutes after I got up.

We got out in the snow a little bit. We took a few pictures; those are forthcoming (we got a new digital camera, and are still learning the ins-and-outs of it). I hope that they come out nice. It was fun to see the people walking up and down the street, just enjoying the snow and the resulting scenery.

For a little bit, the flurries were pretty thick. It wasn't Green Bay playoff weather thick, but it was a good bit of snow. I'd say that we probably got a little over an inch in total.

And only a few hours later, it was gone. Practically all evidence that it had ever snowed had melted away. But it was nice while it lasted.

This evening, Kelly and I made our first fire in our fireplace. The dying embers are glowing as I type this. We've enjoyed the day. I hope you've enjoyed yours too, gentle reader, even if you weren't blessed with snow today.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

1/2 month - resolutions?

Okay, so now the real entry for today. We were watching Throwdown with Bobby Flay earlier, so I couldn't get my thoughts in order, but Kelly's gone to bed now so I can write some.

I don't remember the statistic, but I remember reading somewhere that most New Year's resolutions are broken before January ends. So every once in a while, I will try to check in with my overall progress on mine that I mentioned previously. Since we're now halfway through January, why not now?

  1. Post at least once every day. Yep. You're reading the proof.
  2. Lose weight. I haven't weighed myself during the course of this month (for that matter, I didn't weigh myself on December 31, either, so I don't really know what my starting weight was). I haven't done a great job here - haven't really changed anything about my eating habits or my exercise. My clothes don't feel looser or anything. I'd guess I'm about where I was at the start of the year.
  3. Read my Bible every day. Yes! I've read at least a chapter every day. I'm ashamed to admit this, but it's the longest consecutive stretch of days that I've read my Bible in quite a while. We're currently doing a church-wide Bible reading on Jesus where we read through three of the Gospels one chapter a day until Easter. I've used that as my guide.
  4. Better neatness around the house and yard. I've been better, but not what I really want to get to. For example, I'm still not the best at cleaning up dishes every night, so they'll still pile up. (Ricky, I'm sure that you're nodding your head in remembrance right now.) But I am getting better at it (in fact, I cleaned the kitchen tonight while Kelly made dinner). It's a little cold for doing much in the yard right now, though.

I mentioned financial goals, but I think for the most part that I'm going to keep those to Kelly and myself. I like the topic of personal finance, and for the most part I'll talk about it with anyone who will listen, but I don't think that I'm quite ready to have an open wallet.

So there you go. I'm 2 1/2 for 4. But the year is still young - still room for improvement!

strangest injury ever

Today I lacerated the top of my mouth putting a potato chip into it. I can't say that that's ever happened to me before in my life.

Friday, January 11, 2008

we're off to see the Wizard...

In the land of Oz this weekend...we're returning the car that we borrowed from my parents while looking for our new wheels.

Not really much else to report today...hm. Well, I did say that I would post something every day. I didn't say it would necessarily be interesting every day.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

day of news

A lot of my day was spent waiting. A lot of it was also spent writing checks.

The waiting mainly came due to my garage door opener repairman being late. I ended up at home for the vast majority of the afternoon. He got there and set up our new opener, complete with sensor (it should give you an idea of how old our old ones are/were that they didn't include sensors on them). Seems to work pretty well. It's just not the sexiest thing to buy.

That's reserved for things like cars. Yep, we finally got our new vehicle tonight as well. Kelly drove it home, and it will become her primary vehicle. I'll drive her old Civic until we save up enough to get my truck. (Did "Somewhere Out There" start playing softly in the background?) I'll throw a picture up when I get the chance. I'm going to go register it and get the license tomorrow.

After finishing all the paperwork on the car, we went and saw Katelyn, Ricky and Tammy's daughter. They're all doing well (if a bit tired, I'm sure)...they will be able to come home either tomorrow or Thursday; they weren't sure when we talked to them.

(I realize that by writing the previous paragraph, I've gotten two different women rarin' again for their own grandchild. All in due time...)

Monday, January 7, 2008

kte

If you read this site, you certainly know about the other half of 1122 Productions, Ricky and Tammy Eanes. Their baby girl was born today!

You can go to his site for more information on the big day and their new bundle of joy.

Congratulations, Ricky and Tammy!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

I'm still a college student in some ways

My last five meals:

Did I mention Kelly's not feeling well?

Saturday, January 5, 2008

takin' it easy

We haven't left the house today. Kelly is recovering from a virus, so it's been a lazy Saturday. We had originally planned on going grocery shopping, but she hasn't felt up to it. Yes, I know that I could go by myself, but I don't wanna. :)

So she's been reading, and I've been on the computer, and we've both had turns at the TV. Our lives are exciting!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

Christmas came late

I got a new computer at work today. It's got a quad-core processor and 4GB of RAM...me likee.

I know that it's a bit geeky (okay, it's a lot geeky), but I really like breaking in a new computer. I was able to get a lot of it done today, so if the need comes tomorrow morning I can work on it. But I still have some other things that I have to load and install on it before it's really prepped and ready to go.

Of course, it really makes me want a new machine at home too. But that will happen in due time...

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

2008 Resolution

Happy New Year!

For those of you who still like to check this page from time to time, and are used to seeing nothing here, here's a surprise for ya...not nothing!

However, I'd like to take this opportunity to let you know that pressing on... is making a comeback this year. Far too long I have been more of a consumer of the web than a producer. I have many fond memories of working on this website and adding the content that now sits gathering cobwebs in the archives. Hey, even I still go back every now and then and read what my former self wrote. Some of it still cracks me up.

Kelly and I talked about resolutions once before the new year, and I said that I hadn't really planned on doing any. Well, Sunday at church that changed. The pastor preached an excellent sermon on change, and I was convicted of needing to make a few in my own life. Did God tell me to start up pressing on... again? No, but he did reveal to me that I've been pretty lazy about keeping up with people in the past, and this site is a great way that I have had to do so. He also showed me that I don't take advantage of free time very well. This gets back to being a consumer of the web. It's really easy in today's Internet to get lost in countless blogs, Youtube clips, and news aggregators and just keeping taking it all in. It's really easy to convince myself that my life isn't really all that special, and who would care to read about it? Both are wrong. The former leads to a glazed-over mind and also invites temptation. The latter both tells God that essentially I'm pointless and denies my friends and family the opportunity to commune with me (in the modern way). I'm just enough of a curmudgeon to not want to join MySpace or Facebook...this is my interface to the Internet world. So I need to take care of it better.

So I'm making a resolution (it's one of five that I'm making) for this year to include at least one post every day. All 366 days. For days that I know that I will not be able to access the blog, I will inform the general public about it beforehand (so no cheating) and then write my entry down during the day, so that when I can get back online I can add it and back-date it appropriately.

What are the other four resolutions, you might ask? Oh, the usual. Lose weight, read my Bible every day, better organization and tidiness in the house/yard, and some financial goals that I won't get into here.

All right. One day of 366 done. Now to go erase all the spam that's appeared on some of my other entries.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

and this is why I don't drink

So last night I had this dream that I was at a party. It was a party with alcoholic beverages. I don't drink in real life, but apparently in the dream world I like dark beers, because that's what I was having. I only had a couple, I think.

When Kelly and I left the dream party, I woke up. And when I tried to walk to the kitchen, I felt woozy. Apparently I don't hold my dream liquor very well.

Friday, October 6, 2006

29

So yeah, I guess that I would be another year older, wouldn't I?

Monday, September 18, 2006

attention all alumni...

My lovely wife (who isn't even an alumnus...yet) has seen fit to start a UA BCM alumni page. Go to the newly-created site!

Thursday, September 7, 2006

an apology of sorts

I don't know if anyone even reads this anymore, but I'm awake due to an ill-advised late infusion of caffeine, so I figured that I would surprise anyone who actually is with an update.

So let's see, what's happened?

Other than that? Well, I've been working, and Kelly's been working, and...that's really about it. Not a whole lot of excitement or anything. We're saving for a house, so we try not to spend a lot of money right now, which means no big trips. We go to church, but due to Kelly's getting out of work late it's difficult to get involved in extracurricular activities right now. Weekends have been spent either visiting family or exploring Birmingham's residential areas or just recuperating from the week.

It's not that it's been boring. It's just not been anything to write home about - or write on the homepage about. In college, I would write about anything and everything - a lot of the time I'd do it to put off an assignment that was pressing. Now that I could come home and theoretically write about anything without fear of something not getting done on time, I don't do it. Maybe I need that impetus.

Anyway, I apologize for not writing more. Maybe I can get back in the swing of things with this as a start.

Monday, May 8, 2006

first of many

Yesterday was our first anniversary.

It's interesting...my life has changed in many ways since I've been married, but it's been very similar in others. For instance:

And so on. But there are things that haven't changed much. For example, I still like to play video games, and she doesn't mind - in fact, she enjoys watching me play!

We've grown closer together, I think. We've still never fought, although we've had conversations where we've disagreed with one another. But I think that's constructive, too. If both of you thought alike all the time, you'd be married to yourself, and in the immortal words of Seinfeld..."I can't be with someone like me! I hate myself!"

Well, I don't hate myself, but you get the point. (Or maybe you don't, because I didn't exactly make a point. But whatever.) The real point is, even though we've had times where we differed, we were still able to be closer to each other.

The changes in being married are very real, but I wouldn't take my old life back now. I love being a married man, and I love the woman that I'm married to.

Happy 1st, Kelly. I love you.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

my(wife's)space

My lovely wife now has a blog of her own. Odds are pretty good that it'll be updated more frequently than mine is.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

woo hoo, woo hoo hoo

Since we moved into the apartment, we'd had local telephone service with Bellsouth. Until last night.

I finally got tired of paying the amount that we did for just local telephone service, and no long distance at all. It made no sense.

So last night, we switched to Vonage. When you can save $25 per month on your phone bill, and have long distance minutes, this is a good thing.

Monday, January 16, 2006

my old Kentucky trip

Last weekend, due to the graciousness of a potential client, my boss Jamie and I were treated to tickets for the Alabama-Kentucky basketball game. It was the first time I'd ever spent any real time in the state of Kentucky, so that was cool enough, but to get to go to a game in Rupp Arena just put it over the top.

Rupp Arena, for those who aren't college basketball aficionados, is basically a mecca for the sport. Kentucky is college basketball's winningest team. Bama only plays there once every two years. So the chance to go is a huge deal - basically a once in a blue moon opportunity.

So we got a flight to Louisville, and hotel rooms in Lexington.

It's at this point that I both have to thank and apologize to my co-worker Paul, who was the originally intended second person on this trip. He couldn't make it due to a previous commitment, and graciously let me go. Thanks also to Marie and Jamie for allowing me to go on my first "business trip".

Friday afternoon was spent looking around the UK campus and Lexington itself. At night, we went to a downtown restaurant, where we had dinner with the client reps (if by any chance you read this, Brian and John - thanks again!)

During the night, there was a small accumulation of snow. Anyone from Alabama knows that if you have a camera and there is snow on the ground, it is mandatory that you take pictures (I guess to prove to yourself that the stuff exists). So Saturday morning, I made sure to do so.

The morning was spent at Keeneland Race Course, where we ate breakfast, looked around the course, and watched some horses get auctioned off. We stopped by the gift shop, where I picked up a golf ball for myself (I've started a collection) and a scarf for Kelly (since coming to Alabama, she's discovered the wonder of the scarf in wintertime). We didn't look around outside for long, as the temperature was still hovering around freezing.

Then, on to the main event! We headed downtown (Rupp is actually not on the campus proper, as it doubles as the convention center in Lexington), found parking, and headed inside.

The first interesting thing about Rupp that you notice is that it is part basketball arena, part Galleria. There is a mini-mall area, complete with food court, to explore. But we wanted to get to the good stuff, so we didn't spend a lot of time there. Besides, it was only about 30 minutes to tip-off at that point.

We stepped inside the arena itself. The first thing that I noticed about it was that it was large, but it didn't feel large. The seats seemed to be close to the court, even in the upper deck. This was proven later in the game, about anytime Kentucky would do something good. The fans get loud. Bama fans could learn a lesson or two from them.

John and Brian had been silent the entire time about our seat locations, only saying that one of the corporate heads had given them the tickets for the game. Well, we started down the aisle toward the court...and kept going, and going...until we stopped at the second row from the court. Right behind the Alabama bench.

The opportunity had now risen to once-in-a-lifetime.

These were not cheap tickets, to say the least. Brian and John were enjoying the experience, too; Brian was a season-ticket holder, and he said that it would be tough to go back to his old seats after this!

Of course, to make things even better (for Jamie and myself), Alabama actually won the game. And I saw myself on SportsCenter later, although you'd have to know where I was sitting to pick me out - the camera focus is on the game, after all.

So, needless to say, an unforgettable weekend. I'll have some pictures on this posting as soon as they get back from the developer. And now pictures are online!

Wednesday, November 9, 2005

the dreaded "d" word

So, I had not gone to the dentist in quite some time when I stepped into the office last Tuesday. In fact, it had been so long that I couldn't remember the last time that I had gone. Some of you may recoil in horror at that statement, but when you consider that I hadn't had dental insurance until last year, and I knew what I was going to have to have done, you might understand. Ever since undergrad, I knew that one day would come that I'd have to have one of my teeth crowned, which if you've never paid for one is quite expensive. Add to that the fact that I could claim I didn't know any good dentists, etc., and you had a litany of excuses for putting the whole thing off.

Don't worry...I've made up for lost time in the dentist's chair. They know me by name now.

Here's the way I've always approached the dentist. You go, they poke and prod, and if you're really lucky, they'll shoot you with needles and drill for a while, and then they make you pay for the experience. My teeth are relatively stout. They had gotten a little temperature-sensitive, but for a long time that wasn't a big deal. When it finally got to where I couldn't eat ice cream on one side of my mouth, I finally figured that it was time to give in.

I was recommended a dentist from one of my co-workers. He and his staff have treated me well and are very good about making the suffering quotient stay low. However, thus far the tally stands at eight cavities, the aforementioned crown...

And a root canal. Which I went through yesterday.

To test for a root canal, apparently the standard procedure is to supercool a piece of something (I'm not sure exactly what it was) and hold it to the tooth in question. If you leap out of the dentist's chair, you need a root canal.

Okay, so I didn't leap out of the dentist's chair. But my eyeballs almost leapt out of their sockets, so that was enough for him.

Let me just say as a result of all this having been done (save the other five fillings and the permanent crown, which are coming up in a couple of weeks), I don't dread dentist's needles anymore. I don't even dread having a root canal done.

I dread what you feel afterward. Which is a lot of pain.

I took a Loritab last night at 9 to go to sleep, and it still wore off at 2:30 this morning, so I took another. Luckily, it doesn't seem to make me loopy or anything (yes, Ricky, I don't get "Comtrexed"), so I can drive myself to work today. I will be taking Advil today, 4 at a time.

Okay, I'm ending the above paragraph, because it's starting to remind me of the spam I have to clean off of the blog.

Anyway, moral of the story, kids: see your dentist. Trust me, it's better than the alternative. And if you do have a cavity, they'll fill it with what appears to be a caulking gun, which is always good for a laugh.

Tuesday, June 7, 2005

Yay us!

Per the financial news... Southern Company Completes Implementation of e-Systems' Attache software

Saturday, May 7, 2005

my virtual love letter

The last entry of a bachelor.

Tuesday, April 5, 2005

me and the gray goo

Approximately every year or so, I get a crazy idea in my head.

You know, I bet Krystals really aren't that bad...

Tonight was that night. It didn't hurt that my grandfather wanted those little hot dogs that they have. I don't even know what they call them. Anyway, I figured while I was there, I might as well get it over with for the year.

For those of you who haven't had a Krystal, there's a reason why a friend of mine from UA called them the "gray goo". The tiny little meat patty has this unsettling way of transferring its natural juices into the bun more than any other hamburger ever. It's not worth getting into any more than that, except to say that I just can't bring myself to eat them under most circumstances. Except for when I have the aforementioned thought and "treat" myself to them.

The verdict this time? Let's just say it'll be at least another year before I start thinking about having them again.

Thursday, March 10, 2005

attention all UA BCMers...

I am in the process of trying to get addresses for wedding invitations to send to Kelly. If you read this, and would like an invitation, shoot me an e-mail with your current address.

Monday, December 6, 2004

feeling a bit down

I have a bit of a cold today, like many people apparently up here. I never like being sick, but this was my first time going to work feeling sick. I didn't look forward to it. I got through the day well enough, but I was ready to get home.

A site update: a big update to the rivalries site. Check there for updates.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

FQ2K4!

It's back!

Tonight, Kelly and I will be joining Ricky and Tammy for the 6th 1122 Productions Flannel Quest! This will be the first FQ in three years, and the first ever to include my significant other in the mix, which I must say I'm happy about. :)

It's already a good time for flannel, as it's already starting to get colder up here. Right now 90% of my cold weather clothing is packed up, so it would be nice to have something to wear around the house right now before I can get down to Gainesville and get my winter wear. But mainly it's an excuse to get together and relive some old traditions (and who knows...maybe even start some new ones).

Watch this space (and the aforementioned flannel page) for the report on the trip. And as for the "coming soon" on the 2001 version...you might have to wait a bit longer. I don't even remember anything about it! :)

Wednesday, October 6, 2004

hmm

I seem to have added another year to my life. Funny, that. I think that officially pushes me out of the "mid-20s" now, doesn't it?

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

the proposal

I had known how I was going to propose to the woman I was going to marry for over eight years.

When I was in 12th grade, as part of an English assignment, I wrote a short allegory describing myself as a house. Included in this house was a place that housed my hopes and dreams. But many of those dreams were locked away in boxes, to which I didn’t have the keys. I wrote about how this part of the house was locked away to most, but I would give keys out to those I thought deserved them, and one day I would give a key to someone who would help me open those boxes.

It was a selfish teenager’s definition of love. And it was just tonight that I realized that.

My original idea was to present the lady with a key that symbolized the master key to all of my hopes and dreams, and then present her with the ring with which to hold that key. When I was seventeen, I thought it was a clever idea. In fact, in some ways I still do.

It just wasn’t right for my proposal. I’d realized that before my revelation tonight, though, as I’d already told Kelly about the story. I had given her the key that I had up unto that point kept in my wallet for that time.

But the other reason that I knew that it wouldn’t be right was that I had missed the point all along. The important thing in the story tonight, as I finally realized tonight, wasn’t the key.

It was the boxes.

I realized that Kelly had opened a lot of those boxes that I wrote about as a teenager. I knew that she was the love of my life. I knew that she made me very happy. But those weren’t the only types of boxes that she helped me open. She’s tested my faith and encouraged me to share it more freely. She’s taught me to know money more as a means than an end. She’s made me happy, to be sure, but she’s also made me joyful and content, which are very different from being happy. Happiness is temporary, but joy and contentment are lasting.

The reason that Kelly was different is because she added to the story. Not only did she open those boxes with me, she opened others that I didn’t even realize were there.

Kelly and her parents came to Birmingham yesterday to evacuate from the path of Hurricane Ivan. I took them to dinner tonight, and afterwards we went to my grandparents. During dinner, Kelly’s mother had inquired as to how my parents were doing, and I said that I would call once we got back from dinner. What no one else knew at that point was the primary reason I’d be calling!

After we got back and watched a little bit of footage of the storm’s oncoming wrath, I held up my phone and said that I was going out, and asked Kelly if she wanted to come with me. She said yes, and we went outside. I knew that I was going to do it, but I didn’t know what I was going to say.

As we walked out to the street, I started talking with her about how I remembered coming out to the street and the cul-de-sac when I was younger and kicking a football around. I told her also how I remembered thinking about finding someone and what she’d be like.

I asked her if she remembered the story that I wrote back in 12th grade, and she said that she did. I asked her if she still had her key. She said that she had it in a safe place.

And so I told her about the boxes that she had opened for me in my life. With an inquisitive look, she asked, “Like what?” I gave her the example of the time that I had done 30-Hour Famine with her. She mentioned about how we couldn’t do that anymore…I still don’t think that she knew at that point.

But I knew…the light had come on…it was the boxes, Brandon…

I told her that she had done things that I would have never thought about as a selfish, 17-year-old boy. It was implied that as a man of almost 27 years, I had learned a lot more about love, and about life, and that all of these things were coming together, culminating in one moment where I’d ask a question that I hope I only ask once in my life.

There, under a streetlight in the cul-de-sac, I pulled out my box, and said that since she had helped me open up so many boxes, I wanted her to be able to open one.

I got down on one knee, and held the box out to her, and asked her if she would do me the honor of being my wife.

This time the answer was only one word…”Yes”.

Saturday, August 28, 2004

pros and cons

The first week went by pretty quickly once I got everything up and running. A large portion of the week was just getting a system set up to work on. However, once that was taken care of, I managed to get some work done, with the assistance of my supervisor. The project that I'm working on consists of lots of code, and even knowing where everything is will take some time. But at least I got something productive done, and that's a good start.

I always figured that it would be nice knowing that there would be a pretty strict delineation between work and free time, and that's been true. Of course, it's only been one week, so who knows, but it's been nice to know that when 5:00 comes around, you don't have to worry about anything until the next day, or in the case of Friday, the next week. Of course, free time is smaller in quantity than it was in college, but I figure that not having the sword of Damocles above you, reminding you of everything that you could be doing, makes up for that.

The biggest drawback to being in Birmingham for me is that Kelly isn't here. The problem with your girlfriend being in Boca Raton when you are in Birmingham, is that, well, she's in Boca Raton and you're in Birmingham. We haven't seen each other in over two weeks, but it really feels like a lot more than that. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, but I think that distance plays a pretty big role in it too. Add that to the fact that Kelly's really busy now, and the fact that I have working hours and an implied "normal" sleep schedule, and I don't get to talk to her as much as I used to. I don't like that so much. I'm waiting for the day when I get to come home, knowing she'll be there.

Monday, August 23, 2004

brand new day

So, yeah, I had my first day at work today.

If you didn't know, I made a decision (not a recent one, mind you) to get out of the Ph.D. program at Florida and find a "real world" job. I was fortunate enough to find one in Birmingham, and after a couple of weeks taking care of paperwork both here and Gainesville, this morning I started.

I am working for e-systems. You can find out more about them on their web site. My job description is J2EE programmer; this means I get paid to write code.

My first day was equal parts uneventful and...well, eventful. Our office didn't have phone or internet service for much of the day, which made it kinda tough to get stuff done. But I learned a lot of the ropes of the application I'll be working on; tomorrow I get to actually write some stuff. It'll be interesting; there's a lot of Java that it uses that I want to become more proficient in, so it'll be good. Everyone that I've met thus far (I've met all but one person) has been really friendly and helpful, and I think we'll all get along fine.

I know that this is a pretty generic description of what happened today, but frankly I don't really feel like writing this right now...I'm pretty tired. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, so I'll be trying to make up for it tonight.

Friday, May 14, 2004

what to do if you've lost your wallet

  1. File a police report with the local PD. They probably won't find your wallet, but it can't hurt, and it's good to do it for credit agency purposes.
  2. Call and cancel all of your credit/check/ATM cards.
  3. File a fraud security claim with the credit reporting agencies. Equifax, one of the big three, will forward your claim automatically to the other two and provide you with a free copy of your credit report as they have it.
  4. Procure your birth certificate, or a certified copy of it. If you don't have one readily available to you via a family member, VitalChek is one company who is well-known for doing this.
  5. If you had a school ID, get it again. It should be one of the easiest ID cards to get back, as most universities now use an ID separate from your SSN, and so should have an easily-recognizable pictoral record of you on file for visual proof. It's also much easier to complete the next step with one.
  6. If you lost your Social Security card, fill out an application for a replacement. Go to socialsecurity.gov for the application and more information. Your birth certificate won't work here, but a school ID will. If you don't have a school ID, your passport or life insurance policy, among other things, will work. The social security agency will give you a stamped note stating that your SSN belongs to you; this should work in lieu of the card, which won't arrive for a week at least. By the way, social security's fraud division will not file a fraud claim unless you show someone is actively trying to steal your identity, so be on the lookout for a while to come.
  7. Now that you have that back, get your driver's license. The birth certificate / social security notification combination should be sufficient for just about every state and situation you could be in.
  8. Use the newly acquired license to invalidate and replace all of your other items: membership cards, library cards, voter registration cards, etc.
  9. If you lost any checks as well, call the bank and invalidate them all immediately, and place stops on anything purchased since the time that you lost your wallet. The quicker you do it, the less you're liable for. If you're really concerned, you can just close out the account and start over fresh, although that will take a little extra time and money.
  10. Oh, and buy a new wallet.

One guess as to why this journal entry came about. Another guess as to how my past week has been.

Monday, April 19, 2004

reason #81 why I hate night driving

I have never liked to drive at night. There are several reasons why - harder to see, glaring headlights, more potential for animal-related wrecks...but one of the biggest is that if something bad happens to the car, it's much more difficult to get it fixed at night than it is during the day. This is especially the case when it's a weekend night.

So last night I'm coming home from Boca Raton after seeing Kelly for the weekend. I realized when I left that I'd be making about half of the trip at night. This didn't thrill me, but I had wanted to stay as long as I could in Boca. So I prepared myself for night driving.

My car's right rear tire did not.

A little past Orlando, around 9:30, I hear a popping sound, and my truck immediately begins to vibrate. I was fortunate to be at an exit at the time, so I pulled off on its side and got out and looked. I didn't see anything wrong with any of the tires - they all looked inflated. So I got back in and immediately smelled burned rubber. Could it be a belt? I started the truck again - no, couldn't be a belt - and carefully drove towards the closest signs of civilization at about 30 miles per hour. I made it to a gas station and shut off the truck. A couple of people outside of the station talking watched as I got out.

Another examination of the tires revealed that the tread had come off of the right rear tire. This has happened to me in the past before; I'm not sure why I've had such bad luck with tires. Anyway, I set out to get my jack and everything out of the back of the truck. Of course, it was all underneath my luggage, backpack, golf clubs, Kelly's golf clubs...this wouldn't be such a big deal if my back wasn't killing me. I've been in serious pain for about five days with my back now, and I knew that this wasn't going to help.

I got everything out and got the tire jacked up, and proceeded to start removing the tire. The first nut was on there pretty tight. It took a good piece out of me to get it off, and my back was not feeling good at this point. I had a brainstorm and quickly made my way to the gas station, only to be met by the attendant at the door, a woman who appeared to be in her early twenties.

"Are you buyin' somethin'?"

"Yeah, I want to get some WD-40."

"Well, get it and go; I'm cashing out my register and closing up."

No sympathy. I quickly located the WD-40 and paid. When I exited the store, I turned toward my car, only to find someone working on removing the rest of the nuts from the rim.

It's a little unnerving when one sees this sight, even though he was just helping. Of course, with all of my stuff out there in the open, ripe for the taking, it was obvious that he only wanted to help. I thanked him, but said that he didn't have to worry about it, and took over. He stayed and chatted with me while I worked, though. I sprayed the bolts, and got the tire off without too much of an effort. Getting the other tire, however, was another story. I had to get under the truck to do it. Recall that my back isn't feeling particularly great anyway before all of this. I finally got the tire out. By this time, he had gone back to his own car and was talking with the other person. I assumed that they were waiting on the cashier girl to close out.

It took a big effort to get the tire onto the car. Between my back and the limited amount of light to see how the bolts lined up, it took five or six times before I got the tire on. I sprayed the bolts down with WD-40 again, and started tightening the nuts. The guy came back over, and commented that I was putting the nuts on backwards. Eh? "Yeah, I'm a mechanic. You need to put them on the other way or they might come undone." Who was I to argue? So I took off the ones I'd already tightened and started over.

By this time, of course, my hands were completely covered in grease. I asked the man if he thought the girl would open the store back up so that I could wash my hands. He said, "Wait. I got some stuff in the trunk." He's a mechanic, of course, so I figure that whatever it is, it's got to be good enough to cut grease. Sure enough, he had some soap in the trunk. He squeezed a liberal amount in my hands, then pointed me in the direction of a hose on the side of the building. The soap did the trick well enough for me to feel okay about touching all of my stuff when I put it back in the car, thankfully enough.

I thanked the man for his help, and gingerly got inside the truck. My back ached, I was tired. But at least I was on the road again. And I got home safely, if about 45 minutes later than when I'd planned.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

adventures in bode-sitting

A couple of weekends ago, I had the opportunity to dog-sit for my sister and brother-in-law, who took a trip out of town. This served them well (they didn't have to pay for a kennel) and was going to serve me well, as Kelly was supposed to come up and see me on the Saturday of that weekend. Always a good thing. (Exhibit A - Bode, significantly smaller than she is now, but I don't have an updated pic.)

Anyway, I made it down there to find Bode, very ready to be released from her cage. I fed her and walked her, and it was there that I re-learned a few things about dogs.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

r r r

A couple of things that I decided to get today that I had been needing for a while but never really thought to get: a flashlight and a toolbox.

Every once in a while I have required the use of a flashlight and never have had it on hand. I have had other small flashlights but I figured that if I were going to get one, I'd get one that could get run over by a Mack truck and still function properly. That's right...a Maglite, baby! And I found it in a nice crimson, too.

Getting the flashlight made me think, as I was in Wal-Mart, that I really needed something to put all of my tools in. Most of my tools before this afternoon had resided in the bottom cubby of my Yaffa blocks, but not all of them. I needed a central location. And I found a nice-sized one (19" by 12 1/2", which is plenty big for me) for 10 dollars. So now my admittedly limited arsenal of tools has a permanent home.

Now, if I only had a reason to actually use the tools...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Oh happy day...

All of my Christmas shopping is done. My sister and brother-in-law (and their dog) have made it in safe and sound, and while the dog's incessant yipping will mean little sleep for me tonight, it's good to see them.

Tonight I went to Chad and Karen's house for a get-together with some of the young adults in the church. I got to see Michelle Piper, who currently attends grad school at Alabama and goes to the BCM sometimes, as well. I gave my old Rubik's cube for a white elephant gift (my new one moves more freely, so it's not a big loss). We had a good time.

Tomorrow night -- the Christmas Eve tradition that we've had for years. We'll go over to my aunt's house, eat, and play games until around midnight, at which point we'll come back over here and sleep in on Christmas morning (except my sister and/or brother-in-law, due to the aforementioned dog). I have given some thought to going to see the Blue-Gray game since it's only 30 minutes away, I've never gone before, and it'd be one last chance to see some Bama guys play this year. I doubt I'll end up doing it, but you never know...

Tuesday, December 23, 2003

1122 headcovers?

So, the other day I'm playing golf and in the process of a round I lose my 3-wood's headcover. It's not a big deal, really, in that it was just a plain blue muff with a 3 on the top, but it put me on the lookout for a new set of headcovers.

At first, I naturally looked at the Alabama headcovers, but I found that the best price that I could get for a set of three was a touch under $30. This seems a bit much for me right now. My discretionary income (what little there is) could best be spent in other ways. But in the process of looking around, I stumbled upon a site that lets you make headcovers with your own logo on them.

Now, admittedly, it's even more expensive than the college ones. And I'd have to order at least 12 headcovers. But the whimsical part of me thinks it'd be really cool to have 1122 Productions-brand headcovers.

Monday, November 24, 2003

what a weekend...

I caught a cold (which included some major sinus headaches) starting Thursday. It is only now going away. So I didn't get anything accomplished school-wise. I lost the remainder of my energy 15 seconds into the Iron Bowl, only to get it back 15 seconds into the second half, only to lose it at the very end.

Of course, my sweetie isn't here, although I do get to see her tomorrow (for almost a whole week!) when we make the trip to Bama for Thanksgiving. So things are looking up already.

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

from the edge of October

Not a lot of updates recently, I know. But I have been very busy recently, and I haven't had much time to do anything other than working on research and TA work. I've been so busy that I haven't even gone to my algorithms class in four weeks! I'm farther behind in that class than I've ever been before.

First, some will notice that the graphics on the front page of the site are a little bit different. This is due to my getting the latest version of Macromedia Fireworks, my graphics editor of choice. This was a little "birthday/I finally have money" present to myself. The problem is that the bottom of the menu graphic will look strange in IE. (Ed. Note: I have fixed this by changing the PNGs to 8-bit versions.) IE doesn't support alpha transparency for 32-bit PNGs. Translating the technobabble, this means that Microsoft needs to fix their browser. If you look at it with a recent version of Netscape or Mozilla, you'll notice that the graphics have nice, crisp edges, even against whatever background I might have in the theme. No more artifacts (read: little grayish areas right at the border). It looks really nice - just the way that I've always wanted it. You'll also notice that the typeface on the graphics changed...I finally caved on this because I figure that most people wouldn't have Calisto MT on their computers (I don't on my laptop), but most do have Georgia, and with a little tweaking of the sizes, the type looks just as good.

Now, away from the techie-graphics talk, and on to real life. Teaching is still quite fun, if still a lot of work. I have come to the conclusion that I really do enjoy it, and so I feel better and better about it the whole time. I have a good class; I believe that has something to do with it. I've heard horror stories about people in other TA's classes in the past; I'm glad that I don't have to deal with that.

Research is slow, unfortunately. I have been trying to work on it, to no avail, for a while. I progressively got closer and closer but just couldn't get my implementation to work. After a meeting today, my advisor and I have decided to see if we can hash out what's going wrong by determining exactly how we believe the implementation should work in certain situations. I will be working on it tomorrow.

In apartment news, I am still undefeated in the Super Tecmo Bowl season, although it was not without a fight. I beat one of my roommates 33-28, but had to hold on after starting out up 30-7. It was almost an Alabama-Arkansas moment, but I held on and won. That being said, my defense is still pretty atrocious. I need to work on it...when I get time and stuff.

I won't get to see Kelly again until next weekend, when we go to the Bama-Southern Miss game. I do miss her, even though we talk on the phone daily. Sometimes you just need to be near each other, and we both feel that way.

Last week, my computer's battery decided to lose its capacity to hold charge. After much worrying about potentially losing data, a call to the good folks at HP was made, and I am now in possession of a new battery. My respect for them continues to grow...their tech support has always been great to me.

Well, I need to call my sweetie, so I'll sign off for now. Enjoy the new look!

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

minor details

A few more quick notes from this past week, thrown in with some random randomness for all:

First and foremost, I've got to say that I'm really glad that ESPN finally debuted Playmakers tonight, because that means they'll stop their advertising blitz, and if I hear that "She was rollin' along" deal one more time, I think that I shall take a page from the Sports Guy and light myself on fire.

Speaking of which, I learned tonight that Omar Gooding is one of the actors on this show. Some of you might know him as Cuba Gooding, Junior's brother. I knew him first though on the old Nickelodeon series Wild & Crazy Kids. It's really weird seeing someone who used to get way too excited about kids in a giant pie fight playing a drug-addicted star running back. First Zack Morris, now this...I guess Annette Chavez and Donnie Jeffcoat weren't available for comebacks. And, yes, I had to look up their names.

And now, to the life story; I'm now a second-year grad student officially, as I had my first class today. Well, the first one I wasn't responsible for teaching, anyway. It doesn't look like it's going to be too bad. Even better, I was looking through my library of computer science books, and it turns out that I've already got one of the two books that we can use for the course, saving me somewhere on the order of $100 for a new one. I knew not selling my books back would come in handy one of these days...

Speaking of teaching, I've had one class so far, and all I had to do was the overview of the course. Nevertheless, I had like 12 people come up afterwards to ask questions. It's really strange being the one fielding questions instead of asking them. I guess it's just one more thing to get used to if I'm going to be a professor one day. I'll be giving my first real lecture tomorrow...

A quick side note: 50-minute class periods are a lot easier to sit through when you've been through an entire summer's worth of 65-minute periods.

Kelly's doing well, and even better, she's coming up to visit this weekend! The update has been changed accordingly. Huzzah!

Got to play golf for the first time in a while last night with a few guys from church. I shot 97 on a par 60, which isn't that good, but is still my best-ever score relative to par. What's more, I shot a 44 on the back 9 (par 30), far and away my best-ever effort relative to par. I had a stretch of six holes that I played at bogey or better. This doesn't sound like much to the good golfers in the crowd, but it's a big plus for me. Updated the golf page accordingly. I'm hoping that it will turn into a somewhat regular game...we all had a good time. I even got to see someone hit a ball twice on one shot and send it 20 yards behind him, which was a first. I couldn't really laugh too much, though...he had the only two birdies of the entire foursome.

So that's life in a nutshell over the last couple of days...I'll try to keep updating, but I can't promise anything. Life will continue to be pretty busy over the next few months, especially as my research efforts ramp up. But I've got to go for now. I'm exhausted.

Friday, August 15, 2003

day 1 of many

Today I could write about any number of topics. I've made pretty good progress on my independent study this week. I've discovered the joys of Bayesian spam filtering, something that's allowed me to wade through my spam a lot better than before. I could talk about the ideas that have been going through my mind for the next version of pressing on, and my ideas for site layouts.

On the non-computer side, I could talk about life with roommates for the first time since the 1122 days. I could discuss what I've been studying lately in the Bible (I Corinthians 12 and 14, after a few sermons on spiritual gifts at church got me thinking). I might even be able to discuss a little bit of football, seeing as it's almost that time again.

But the thoughts that keep coming back to my mind are of my girlfriend, now five hours down the state of Florida from me.

She left today. I'll be honest and somewhat sappy - there were tears shed. It's kind of funny. I'll see her in two, maybe three weeks from now. I didn't see her for a longer period of time when she went to Turkey. But this feels different somehow. It feels more permanent, even though it's really not - just a longer temporary time. I don't know why. Maybe it's because we'll only be seeing each other every month or so.

I've got a good support group. My roommates will help me in my times of loneliness. The campus intern and his wife, just recently married, have done this exact thing before, for two years. They will certainly prove a good measuring stick for Kelly and I. I'll be busy with work and church and BCM stuff, so I won't have much time to dwell.

On the other hand, it's going to be hard. There will be days where it will be difficult to find the time to call. But I know that it's necessary, and more importantly, it's something that I want to do. It won't be easy during those times when I know that I won't get to see her for a long time. But I know that God's prepared both of us for this. I don't doubt if we have faith that He'll see us through.

I just got off the phone with her a couple of minutes ago (she called as I was writing the first part of this entry), and she's doing fine, on day 1 of many to come where I learn from a phone call about how she's doing. It was good to hear her voice, but it was tough knowing that that voice is so far away now.

I miss you already, my love.

Monday, August 11, 2003

live from the bachelor pad!

First entry in the new digs. Of course, as now seems to be the case with me, a lot has happened since I've updated my site with any personal news, so let's just perform a mental dump and see what we come up with.

Of course, we must start off with the move itself, and all that it entailed. I must say that I couldn't have done it without assistance (and cars) of Kelly and the Henkel brothers, two of my new roommates. The process took an extremely long time; even spaced out over several days of packing, storing, and moving it was exhausting, especially toward the end.

But I'm here now, and for the most part I'm even unpacked. I decided to go with the "Alabama room" motif that I've used for my study room in the past here, and I like the overall effect. If I'd have had the time, I'd have probably painted the walls to get rid of some of the old marks, but it's okay. The bookcases cover a large portion of the wall anyway. One of these days I'll snap a couple of pics, but if you've ever seen my old "Alabama rooms" you'll have a pretty good idea of what it looks like already; just imagine a full-size bed in there instead of a weight bench. That's now located out on our porch.

Anyway, I still haven't completely finished with the unpacking part. I've got one more trip out to the storage area to make with all of the remaining bins, most of which are, thankfully, empty. I'll do that tomorrow after my meeting.

Went down to Brianna and Mike's this weekend with Kelly, and we played Texas Hold 'Em two nights. It's a good thing that I don't gamble for money, because I'm terrible at it. Got to see Precious and Mr. Guy there for a little bit as well, since they were also down. That's nice, seeing as I probably won't be seeing them again until October, at least.

Classes are now over until the 25th, and that's something to be grateful for. This was a long summer. I had never taken summer classes as an undergraduate or an MBA student, so the whole thing felt more rushed to me. The final in my computer architecture class was a killer. Even after giving the class another 15 minutes to finish, no one turned their papers in before time was called, and the average in the class was a 66. The professor normally doesn't scale, but he felt it might be best to do so here. An 80 became a 100, so my 76 looked pretty good on the curve. As a result, I got my A. I am very happy about this, as this ensures higher than 3.5 on my core courses, as long as I don't fail algorithms. This would be a great thing if I were just a master's student, because then I wouldn't have to take the qualifying exam. As it is, I've got to whether I have a 3.0 or a 4.0 in the core courses. It's part and parcel of the process.

I also finally have my committee formed, after much fear and trepidation. I had my committee chair for a while now, but so many things got in the way for a long time that I didn't believe I'd get it done by the end of the semester. I finally rounded it out, with my outside-the-department committee member being a religion professor that Kelly's had a couple of classes with. You can imagine how many eyebrows raised when they saw that signature.

Of course, I've been trying to spend a lot of time with Kelly in addition to all of this. Originally, she had planned to be at FAU by this time, but various problems in finding a place to live have postponed her departure. In a way, this has been a good thing; we've had a little longer to spend together before we don't see each other for weeks at a time again. She's actually down there as I type this; tomorrow she'll be apartment hunting.

Well, I'll stop here for the night. Just letting you all know that I'm alive, online, and doing well. But I'm also hungry. So that's all for now.

Thursday, July 17, 2003

due to popular demand...

At last, an update! My public demands that I make my presence known on the web again, so here we go.

The last few weeks have mainly been spent catching up on time with Kelly, since she's about to be taken away from me again. :( We've gone home and to Brianna and Mike's, and this weekend we're going to her home to celebrate her father's birthday.

Schoolwise, things are proceeding okay...got a project due on Monday, but no other major news to report. You didn't really come here to read my thoughts on school, right? You want pithy quotes and updates, dont'cha? Well, give the public what it wants, I suppose.

So, the Body For Life (take 3) thing is going reasonably well for both of us, except that my hamstrings are crying out to me whenever I decide to, I don't know...move, and Kelly seems to have strained a ligament in her ankle or something. We decided to take the day off, exercise-wise. But I have definitely noticed a difference in the way I look, so that's promising.

We've also played some golf recently. That's right, kids...Kelly's playing golf. (She's on the Dark Side now, Ricky...MU-WAH-HAH-HAH!) She even went and bought some clubs. This weekend will include more golf, as her dad likes to play and Kelly's buying a round for his present. Speaking of gifts, I received a nice one myself for our 6-month anniversary (yeah, yeah, I know...it's not really an ANNIVERSARY when it's only months...but it's my web page, so nyah nyah)...a pull cart! This allows me to walk the course a lot easier (and it's pretty nifty; it even came with its own water bottle!). So we tried it out last week, and to our surprise, actually did pretty well. I even made my second birdie of my golf career; updates are on the golf page. I also almost lost my wallet, but that's another story...

I've also spoken for the youth out at FBC Alachua for the first time, and it didn't seem to go too badly. I only saw someone yawn once. :) It'll be interesting in the fall, when I just have the high-schoolers to teach. Will I still be able to relate to people 10 years younger than I? Stay tuned...

Okay, so that's about it. I hope that this satiates everyone's desire for all things Brandon for a little bit, 'cause I'm going to be away this weekend. But until next time, stay frosty, kids.

Tuesday, June 17, 2003

low-grade blues

My normal body temperature is 97.6 degrees. As I type this, my temperature is 98.8 and rising. I've had a scratchy throat all day long.

What, were you worried I'd done badly on a test or something? ;)

So, I'm just laying back in my recliner, hoping that it'll be a 24-hour thing. I haven't heard of anything going around recently, but who knows? I'd like to be better tomorrow; I am doing a devotional for the youth at my church tomorrow evening, if I'm up to it. So prayers would be nice.

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

the night of 1000 words

Here it is, my friends...the entry that will have you recalling the banner years of pressing on...where posts occurred every day, and sometimes more than once a day, and tended to be longer than just a couple of paragraphs. The entry so huge, it's filed under four, count 'em, four, categories.

Do I sound enough like an NBC promo?

So, anyway, it's two o'clock in the morning. And I will probably not be going to bed anytime soon, even though I have to get up tomorrow at 9. The reason why will be revealed at the end of the tale.

So, anyway, yesterday Kelly was over here, and I was showing her some of the stuff that I accumulated over the course of my Alabama BCM days. Stuff like the "One" awards that I got in choir, and the two Valentine's Day bags I made, and various other random effluvia. But, lo and behold, what else did I find in there but two gift cards that I had never used and had given up for lost!

One was for Pier 1, and was originally worth $50; the other was to Bed Bath and Beyond and was originally worth $100. Hey, money I didn't know I had! So what else would any red-blooded American male do with it? Shopping spree!

Okay, so that last part was said tongue-in-cheek. But still, I thought it would be fun to buy some new stuff for my apartment. Kelly was more than willing to go along with me. I found that she likes to see what I go for as far as gadgets and stuff.

Now, let's go ahead and be honest. I have a bachelor apartment. I fully understand this. And when I move in with the guys next year, I will have a bachelor's bedroom in a bachelor apartment. There isn't a lot in the way of frills with me. I have one ficus tree, and it's fake. I had two candles, one almost burned out and the other a tiny Yankee candle "sampler". I have one of those large checkers rugs, complete with checkers, for a tablecloth. So anything that I got from Pier 1 was bound to increase the girliness of my apartment by at least a few percentage points.

When I got to Pier 1, some slightly disappointing news awaited me. My gift card, because of it's being unused for so long, dropped all the way down to $22 in value. The BB&B card was still good for $100, though, so I was pretty happy about that.

I think I did pretty well for myself on the whole. My purchases for the day were:

Total amount spent: roughly $70. Actual money spent: $0! And amount still left on the BB&B card: $52.35!

A few notes about some of the purchases:

So since Kelly had girls' night out, I came on back home and got my purchases out and played. The waterwall is now set up and going. The candles (still unopened) and the holders are out too. I washed the pots; this got me somewhat inspired, so I've cleaned up the entire kitchen, changed the light bulbs in the overhead lights in it, ran the dishwasher, done laundry, and even printed out some pictures that were on my computer so now I have actual physical pictures of Kelly instead of just the ones on my computer. So the apartment, while not really any more girly, is definitely upgraded.

I realize that I probably could have made this same update in a matter of a few sentences, but I guess I'm feeling verbose tonight. Maybe it's a way for me to try to delay what's coming up today.

At approximately 9:30 this morning, Kelly is going to knock on my door, and I am going to take her to Jacksonville and put her on a plane that will eventually put her 6,000 miles away from me for five weeks. It's going to be one of the hardest things I've had to do. And at the same time, it will one of the easiest things I’ll do. She knows that she was going on this trip before she ever met me. She knows that it's something that she's supposed to do. And even though it's hard for me to put her on that plane, it's easy knowing that she's going where she needs to go.

Today marks twenty weeks.

Oh, and the word count, according to Word’s counter: 1000.

Sunday, May 18, 2003

school's back in session

So we're back in school again, and it's been a pretty good week. I only have one class this summer term, but I also have an independent study. If all goes well, it could take me a long way toward my dissertation. This, of course, is A Good Thing ®.

Niceville was wonderful. I got to see a lot of Kelly's hometown, and I added a couple of shades of tan to boot. :) I also played a round of golf with her dad. I shot my best 9 and 18-hole scores. Updated the golf page to reflect it. (Yeah, the back 9 was pretty bad, eh?)

Thursday, May 8, 2003

greetings from Niceville!

As I type this, I'm in Kelly's parents' house in Niceville, Florida! We spent the last couple of days in Birmingham, where I introduced her to Ricky and Tammy and my grandparents, and gave her the tour of the University of Alabama campus. I haven't heard yet for sure that that's where she'll do her graduate work, but I'll keep pressing...

Anyway, after a quick layover in Ozark, we came down here last night. We've braved some pretty nasty weather on this journey. Alabama is going through some of its worst weather in a long time right now, and we were right in the thick of it for some time. So yesterday, when we pulled into Ozark, and it was blue skies all around, it was a sight for sore eyes. (In my case now, literally...Kelly's parents own two cats, and we've shown before that my eyes can't take that too much).

Today on the itinerary, if the weather is good: either Big Kahuna's (a water park in Destin), or failing that, the beach itself. I've left all further vacation arrangements to my sweetie. :)

Thursday, April 3, 2003

Anti-me

As I type this, I am wearing a Hawaiian-type shirt. (I can't actually say Hawaiian shirt, because Ricky and Tammy actually have those and could call me out on it.) I just got finished on working on a project that is due on Monday, and my part's pretty much finished. Tonight, I'm giving up my goatee, sideburns, and hair for summer missions, so there's a pretty good chance that I'm going to have a really awful looking 'do for the next 24 hours.

Who am I, and where's the real me?

Wednesday, March 19, 2003

I raced the law (and the law won)

With a nickname like the "cycle of death", it had to happen eventually.

On my way to class just now, I was in a hurry. There is a four-way intersection on the way that I take that never has automobile traffic, so I just went through it like everyone does.

The cop had to call out twice for me to stop. D'oh!

Anyway, I have a ticket (my first one ever), but I can go to a bike safety school for an hour and a half and have it dismissed. This sounds a lot better than a $96 fine, so that's the route I'm going to take.

So I now have my own story about the UPD Bike Patrol to go along with both of my Bama bike stories. Fun, fun, fun!

Saturday, March 8, 2003

spring (break) fever

She is in Michigan. I miss her already.

Today makes two wonderful months.

Thursday, February 27, 2003

the end of an era

As of the time this actually is posted, I will have done something that I have not done before in seven years of college.

I will have missed a class.

The current weather in Gainesville is a thunderstorm, with winds blowing at 15 miles per hour. This is a pretty accurate statement. It also makes it mighty difficult to ride a bike anywhere, even to the bus stop a little less than a mile away.

I tried to be a good student. I set out on the bike. But there was one problem. My rainsuit's pant part had ripped last semester, rendering it useless. I hadn't replaced it, so all I had was a poncho.

When not only your pants, but your socks and underwear become soaked in a matter of seconds, you know that it's time to give up the ghost.

So, for the first time ever, I will not be attending a class live. However, this class is taped by UF for the purposes of off-campus students, and made available to on-campus students as well via streaming video. So I won't be missing any material, thankfully. But I will be missing my first class.

I just thought you'd all like to know that the streak is finally over.

Monday, February 10, 2003

thoughts on one month

Taking a little downtime after a hard day of writing and debugging code, I've stopped to think a little bit about what the past month (now a month and two days) has meant to me.

Monday, February 3, 2003

the happy couple

I know that you're all curious, so I won't put it off any longer. Here we are! (opens in a new window in Javascript-capable browsers)

Sunday, January 12, 2003

"my answer would be yes"

I hadn't written anything about this yet because I didn't really know what to say. I'd never had to approach the topic before. So I'll just go straight from the heart, and hope the details are remembered correctly.

Wednesday, after class, I spent the afternoon finding a florist. I needed daisies; I knew that they were her favorite. The rest of the time before choir was spent in anxious anticipation of seeing her and trying to figure out what I was going to say to her. Those daisies in the refrigerator served as a reminder that I couldn't turn back. Of course, I didn't want to.

I remember asking her if I could talk with her after choir. This was normal procedure after choir anyway, so she told me okay, and now I had my opportunity.

After choir, we milled around a little bit, talking with a mutual friend. Normally, I enjoy talking to all of my friends down here, but I was just waiting for the end of the conversation so that I could gather up all of my nerves. At one point, the two asked to see the truck, seeing as they'd only seen me in the Blazer before. Before I could remember that I had something in the truck that was not something I wanted to show to both of them, I'd said, "Sure," and all three of us had headed over towards the S-10. About ten feet from it, I realized what I'd done, and proceeded to add the modifier "awkward" to what was already a nerve-wracking situation. I'll give the friend credit, though; she picked up pretty quickly. Both walked over to the friend's car. If they said anything to each other, I don't know what it was.

Finally, the moment of truth had arrived. I called her over to my truck, realizing as I did so that I still didn't know how I was going to ask her. I remember picking up the flowers from the seat and handing them to her, and her exclaiming, "Daisies!" She took the white-petaled mini-bouquet and looked at me, knowing full well what was coming next. Was that a hint of a smile on her face? It was hard to tell; the shadows concealed too much for me to know anything for sure, and I wouldn't have admitted it if I had seen it for sure.

I really don't remember a lot of what I said; it was very stream-of-consciousness. I know that I remember saying that she had been an inspiration to me. Whatever I said, it apparently got the point across. She asked me a couple of questions about what my intentions were, and then she said five words that I will never forget.

"My answer would be yes."

In my wildest dreams, I had not planned on hearing that last word. And at that point, something changed in me. I can't give you a feeling to compare it to. All the insecurities that I had harbored about myself for such a long time fell away, replaced by new feelings of equal parts joy and excitement, with a big dose of nervous energy on top. It was the most wonderful feeling that I've felt in years.

There was a lot more to talk about that night, obviously. If my heart was beating fast before, it was going double-time now, because I had absolutely no idea how to proceed. We decided to go to Steak and Shake to talk, because I hadn't eaten since lunch and it was now close to 10:00. We talked for four hours that night. It seemed like time stopped for us and yet passed so quickly. I'm sure that I still wasn't making a lot of sense at the time, and I remember that I was still so nervous that I didn't finish my meal, even though I was practically starving.

Since then we have spent a lot of time together, obviously, and to say that I enjoy being with her is the early front-runner for the understatement of the year.

This week, I've been back to class, and already received a project in one of my classes and taken two pre-tests. I've been sick with sinus problems. I'm currently going on two hours of sleep, and have had problems sleeping since I've been sick. On the plus side, I've joined our church's praise team and been published in a daily e-mail list that subsequently gave my little site the biggest day hitwise in its seven-year history.

But this week will be remembered always for the cold Wednesday January night, and the five little words that were said to me as I was sitting in the passenger seat of my truck, looking unbelievingly at the lady speaking them: "my answer would be yes."

Monday, January 6, 2003

semester two, day one

And so my second semester at UF starts. It's nice to see all of my friends down here again, but of course there are courses to deal with as well.

So far, I've gone to two of my courses, and I'll go to the other two tomorrow for the first time. I have a really balanced schedule - the same two periods every day but Tuesday, which has those same two plus a couple more. So my worst day will be Tuesay again, but it'll only be four hours. Much better than last semester's six-hour Tuesday.

One of my classes looks like it will involve a lot of coding. We get our first assignment on the 10th of this month. When asked about how much code would be involved in the final project, the professor couldn't say exactly, but put his ballpark guess at 4,000 or 5,000 lines of code. Which amounts to twice the size of the second project that I did in OS. Of course, I only had three weeks to do that, so it doesn't look like that much by comparison.

The other class that I went to today will use three tests to determine the final grade. You can't imagine what the thought of a class with no projects makes me do inside. Already, I'm a leg up on last semester as far as time constraints go.

Academically, my springs have almost always been easier than my fall semesters. I'm not sure if that's because of the fact that classes tend to be easier, or just that I don't have college football to distract me on the weekends, but whatever works.

In other news, I've been semi-recruited to sing with the praise team on Sunday at my church down here. We'll see how that goes, I guess. I practiced with them for the first time last night.

Driving the truck is going well, for the most part. I didn't have to drive it today, but I was on the road a lot going to and from church yesterday. Thankfully, I didn't ever stall out, but my friend Mike said that it was kind of funny to watch me starting off from the line - I still tend to lurch a lot. But it's becoming easier each time I do it - I even let myself listen to music while I'm driving in the city now.

The living room looks a lot larger now that the Christmas tree is packed away for another year. Because of that, it looks a lot barer, too. It's not sterile or anything, but it could stand a few more things on the walls. The two small Jack Deloney prints that I received as a Christmas gift from my grandmother have already found their way onto my "dining room" wall - I quote that only because it's not really a room so much as a section of my apartment's living room. They fit in well with the table and chairs that I have there. My walls are still pretty bare, though, I must admit. I've got multiple prints that I need to frame, including a couple more Jack Deloneys. I didn't realize that framing was that expensive. Maybe I need to consider a side business once I start my teaching career.

Saturday, January 4, 2003

looking back and shaking my head

Going through the four boxes of stuff that I brought back to my apartment with me (and promptly throwing the majority of it away), I came upon something that piqued my curiosity: The Journal Of Brandon German. Was I describing possession of the journal using Spanish form, or just attempting to make the title evoke thoughts of Anne Frank? I didn't stop to ponder; instead, I opened the light blue folder that contained the thoughts of a tenth-grade boy.

Oh, man. You want to talk about bad writing? This was "Wince and shake your head" bad. This was "Saved By The Bell plotline and dialogue" bad. This was "How in the world did I graduate high school?" bad. Reading the journal, laughing at the sheer inadequacy of it all, a thought struck me: was I the epitome of male teen angst, or what?

I'd give you a sample of this, ahem, literary work, but 1) I wouldn't be able to find anything in it that wouldn't embarrass me entirely, and 2) I've already thrown it away. It did make for some pretty funny reading for me for about 20 minutes, though.

Friday, January 3, 2003

the Christmas break recap

I'm back in Gainesville, with the first post of the new year! I hope that all of you had a wonderful Christmas, and that the new year has started out well.

My break has been great. I've gotten some much-needed downtime, and that's always a plus. And I was able to see a lot of friends that I hadn't seen in a while. I drove up to Birmingham and saw Ricky and Tammy for a couple of days. I went to church with them on Sunday. Ricky sat with me so I wouldn't be all by myself among a couple of thousand (Dawson Memorial Baptist Church is not exactly your small church) while Tammy sang in the choir. It was kind of funny when at the end of the service, a lady sitting in the pew in front of us turned around and said, "I just enjoyed your singing so much; you two should be in choir!" Ricky should have told her about 1122 Productions' duet career.

I also got to see my friends Chad and Karen one night; we saw The Two Towers. All of us had already seen it, but we wanted to take it in again. We also cajoled Chad into going bowling. I promptly rolled the worst two games I've bowled in a while. I'll mark it up to not having my shoes and my left-handed ball...yeah, that's it. I had hoped to see my friend Amanda some over the break, but I wasn't able to get in touch with her other than seeing her at church once. So if you read this, Amanda, e-mail me!

I got to play golf for the first time since May, and found that not only does absence make the heart grow fonder, it also makes the golf swing better. I played better than I ever have before. I even made my first-ever birdie! I've updated my golf page accordingly.

Alas, not all was well. My car was sicker than we had originally anticipated, so my parents told me to leave it in Ozark with them. This left me in a tough position; the only other car available was our S-10 pickup. This wouldn't be bad normally, but it's a stick shift. We all remember our previous encounter with a stick shift, don't we? No time like the present to learn again, right? So what did I promptly do? Just used it to drive all the way up to Birmingham when I went to see Ricky and Tammy. I hadn't realized just how hilly Birmingham is, but being in a stick shift will make you learn a lot of things really quickly. I wonder if they've managed to scrape all that rubber I left off of that one hill yet. I told my mom that going through one area that included lots of traffic lights back-to-back, I was praying to God for "green lights, good starts, or nice people". But now I've driven it exclusively for almost a week now, and I have to say that I'm getting pretty used to it. And a good thing too, seeing as it's going to be my mode of transportation for a while.

But now I'm back. This afternoon has been mainly spent taking down all the Christmas decorations (always kinda sad in a way), unpacking all of the boxes of stuff that my sister and brother-in-law were holding for me at their house, and making a grocery run because I had next-to-nothing in the apartment that was edible. I'm trying to wash all of the clothing that was in those boxes too...it's like getting a completely new wardrobe!

The break's been great. Now I'm ready to jump back into the swing of things again and see the friends that I've made down here. I just hope that they aren't all too mad about the Outback Bowl fiasco. :)

Thursday, December 19, 2002

I'm done...maybe

I went and took my programming language principles test this morning. I've never, in my life, worried so much about one test. I was really concerned that I would have to re-take the course, as it's a core course, and according to the department you can't use anything lower than a B in core courses.

I don't mesh well with the professor's style of tests. I made a C - a low C - on the first test, and this one was pretty rough as well. If it wasn't for my decent homework average and perfect project score, I wouldn't have much of a chance at all of making a B in the first place. I didn't even know what my homework average was until after I took the test. But I needed to make a 70 on the final to get my B, which I'm pretty confident that I did.

So now, I have two options. One is to pack tonight and head out early tomorrow. The other is to take an optional final in operating systems tomorrow, with the hopes of moving a B+ in my other core course to an A. That would be nice, on consideration that it'd help to counterbalance that B in PLP. But I haven't been able to get myself to study for it yet. I had a test in there only a couple of weeks ago, so a lot of the information is probably still fresh.

I've already decided that I'm going to show up and at least take a look at the test. If I feel that I can do well on it, I'll give it a shot; otherwise, I'll just walk out immediately.

Okay, so enough about school. I'm tired of talking about it, myself.

I've got to say - I really enjoyed my first semester back in school. I have met some wonderful people and made some really great friendships already. I've gotten involved at a church, which was something that I didn't do as much as I should have while I was in Tuscaloosa, and that's been great too. I'd have to say that if I'd have performed somewhat better academically, this was one of the best semesters that I've ever experienced while in college. (Note to self: it might be interesting to rank these...after all, you've experienced thirteen of them now.)

Some things from this semester:

I've really grown closer to God in a lot of ways. One of the biggest is trusting Him in building friendships here at Florida. One thing that I've struggled with for a long time is low self-esteem, and this often translated to me not being as outgoing as I should. But here, thanks be to God, I have been able to meet some great people, and even be considered funny and entertaining by some. Scary thought, eh?

That comradery leads to the next way that I've been able to grow - in fellowship with other guys. This was something that I wish that Alabama's BCM could have - maybe it does now. I hope it does, anyway. There are a set of guys here who are not only spiritually sound, but really love each other and try to hang out together a lot. We all did something at least once a month. I also attended a mens' Bible study, which was really good as well.

It was hard for me at first to accept being the "old guy". Even as an MBA student, I was only a couple of years older than most of the people I knew well. Here, there are people who were in sixth grade when I started college. Tell me that wouldn't make you feel old. I've been the recipient of some good-natured kidding about it, of course; I've been called "Grandpa" on more than one occasion, and a good shot in boggy-pong usually results in someone being impressed that an "old man can still run like that."

I could go on like this for a while, but I probably should look over those OS notes a few times if I actually expect to do well on the test tomorrow. I realized that I hadn't done much actual writing on this site for a while about my life, so I figured that the loyal viewers out there (all 4 of you) deserved that.

Sunday, December 1, 2002

Christmas comes early!

All I wanted for Christmas this year was help in paying for a new computer - a laptop. Well, guess what this entry's coming from the keyboard of. :) I love it already. I'll give specs on it later, because I'm going to spend the majority of the rest of the night getting everything immediately necessary set up on it.

Maybe now I'll be able to update my site often enough for Ricky's tastes. :)

Tuesday, November 19, 2002

you're in the big leagues now, Junior

About 5 minutes ago, I turned in my second project for operating systems, 10 minutes ahead of the deadline. Was it complete? I'm sorry...you must have had this confused with an undergraduate project.

We were given two weeks to do this thing. While juggling other projects/tests/homework, I still worked on this thing for who knows how many hours. Total lines of code written: 2,666. Total number of Java classes: 20. And most of it still doesn't work correctly, even after about 7 hours spent doing nothing but debugging.

I got up this morning at 8:10 a.m., and save the time eating breakfast and attending the one class that I had today, I have spent every second in front of my computer screen today attempting to get this thing done. I succeeded somewhat. It compiles, it even does some of the things it's supposed to correctly. But it's not complete.

While at class, a colleague informed me that some of the people in my class had just given up and turned whatever they had in. It was just another reminder that we're all in the same boat, for the most part.

The professor let us know that he was unsure of the scope of the project and that it was difficult to walk the fine line between interesting and overwhelming. Let's just say that the line is a dot to him, as far as this project is concerned. If you gave me another week, with absolutely nothing else on my plate, maybe, just maybe, I could have it done by then.

And, of course, the next project builds off of this one. Gales of laughter come from our collective weary souls here. It's the laughter of the downtrodden.

Yep, EE 480 was hard, when I took it. The MBA coursework was difficult, when I took it. Yet the bar still has the ability to be raised even further, and it has been here. I don't know if I can take too many more days like this. The scary thing is, this upcoming month looks to be fraught with them.

EE 480 was AA-ball. The MBA was AAA. This, kids, is staring down Randy Johnson.

I realize that this isn't exactly uplifting news, but please understand. I just spent the past 16 hours either staring at a computer screen or in class. I'm amazed my brain is still functioning properly.

Friday, October 11, 2002

back by popular demand

As I write this, I could work on my operating systems project for another 6 minutes and still turn it in on time. But it wouldn't work any more then than it does now. So it's turned in, and now I finally have a bit of what you might call free time.

In reality, it's not really all that free. I have a project due on the 18th, another on the 24th, and midterms on the 21st, 24th, and 29th. But at least the next thing in front of me has a due date that's a week from now.

So let's see...where did I leave you off, gentle reader? Beginning of October, I believe. I'd just learned that the aforementioned operating systems project had been moved back a week (and a good thing too; I still only managed to get it mostly done even with the extra week). But I had plenty of other stuff to deal with as well. So here's a quick rundown of the time since then, not counting class time.

October 1 - worked on OS project. Went to men's Bible study, where we studied the discipline of friendship.

October 2 - worked on OS project. Worked on concurrent programming project. In just about the only television I watched all week, I let myself watch "Ed".

October 3 - Gator (the equivalent to UA BCM's Discovery) at 8:30; the rest of my time working on the above two projects. Find out that my sister and grandparents are going to be together for a little while. Can I come down and see them? Nope, both for obvious reasons, and ones I've yet to mention.

October 4 - Sigh. More work on the projects. I did play in the 3rd semi-annual boggy-pong tournament, where I made it to the final table and finished a respectable 8th. Not bad for someone who learned the game a little over a month ago. Sigh again - my car begins to overheat again, and it turns out that the coolant reservoir is empty again. I fill it with water and make it back home.

October 5 - you guessed it; work on the operating systems project. I turned in the concurrent programming assignment. Allowed myself to watch the 'Bama game without having pencil and paper nearby to jot down psuedocode, but had them there for the Florida game. What is it that prompts both teams to lose on the same day? I took the Florida one in stride, but I got irritated about the 'Bama game. I was fuming when Tennessee lucked out against Arkansas.

October 6 - I turn 25, and promptly have one of my lousier birthdays. First, the reservoir is empty again, which I find out just before going to church. No way I'm going to run the car under those circumstances, and too late for asking someone for a lift, so no church. Then, work on my database project with my project team. For 7 hours. I did mention that this was my birthday, right? Of course, don't get to see my sister and grandparents, because it's too late (it was 9 when we finished), and even if I had the time, I have no method of transportation to get me to Melbourne. I haven't eaten since noon. So I go home and realize there's nothing there to eat, so I pedal over to the Kash 'n Karry and buy a few snacks. When the cashier inquires as to my dubious choices in nutrition, I tell her that I'm splurging because it's my special day. She doubts my good word, so I show her my driver's license. Get home, eat, fall into bed. Happy birthday to me, indeed.

October 7 - no work on a project for once. Why? Because my OS midterm's tomorrow. Study all day for that.

October 8 - take the OS midterm. Actually feel reasonably good about it. Realize that's probably not a good feeling, because it means that there probably won't be any curve involved in the grading. The work on the OS project begins anew. Men's Bible study is about discipline of the mind. A couple of friends surprise me there with a belated birthday cake - really nice of them. The men chow down. I get an extra piece to take home.

October 9 - more OS project work. Yeah, that's about it.

Which brings me up to the 10th, which I spent either working on the OS project or in class, phasing in and out of the lectures, writing psuedocode for the OS project. By the time 8:20 p.m. came around, I told myself that it wasn't going to get any better. I was getting at that point where the code was all running together, much like a term paper will do once you've pored over it more than a few times. I'd already busted the program a couple of times during the course of the day, and rather than risk doing something irreparable in the time remaining to me, I turned it in and let it go. That left me 10 minutes to get to Gator on time. On my bike. Didn't happen, but I was only about five minutes late.

My apartment is a complete and utter wreck. I haven't cleaned up in over two weeks. The garbage needs to be taken out. It isn't pretty. I very badly need a haircut. I could probably stand to go grocery shopping, but that's tough to do without a car. Speaking of which -- the car needs fixing, again, with the same basic problem as before. (Can you say free, boys and girls? Because you'd better...) For the past two weeks, my life has been practically nothing but school. That's something that I haven't experienced in a couple of years, and I'd forgotten just how much it takes out of you. I'm not burned out on the semester yet or anything, but I am a lot more tired than I was just a few weeks ago.

Have I learned a lot over these past two weeks? You better believe it. Before this OS project, I thought I knew Java. I didn't know Java. The printed-out APIs strewn around my office floor attest to my lack of knowledge. And much as I've come to fear OS, this project was actually pretty cool. It taught me a lot of things that I wanted to learn eventually anyway.

I've learned a lot about myself, too. I've had to make decisions that I hate to make about the way I study and work on things; that is, to study for an entire day for a test instead of just a couple of hours, and to get them done ahead of schedule, respectively. But if I hadn't made those decisions, I wouldn't have done well on the OS test, nor would have I finished (well, almost) all of those projects.

My life is a simple one, really. I go to class. I do my work. If I have time before a class, I work on the crossword in the newspaper. Between classes, I may do homework or take a quick break at the BCM. I go to my Bible study on Tuesday nights, Gator on Thursday nights, and church on Sundays when I've got the transportation to get there. When I'm at home, I'm usually working on homework or a project, studying, eating, or sleeping.

My e-mail has backed up worse than I've ever let it get before. All of my websites, not just this one, are crying out for an update. I've got over 100 e-mails to go through for updates on the college tradition site. And I'm not even sure when the last time that I sent an e-mail to a person I actually know that wasn't about school.

If you think that this is a cry for help, you're only partially right. Much as I've said here, I don't feel that I'm over my head, yet. Who knows? That time may come eventually. But as I've said to more than a couple of people, "I knew what I was getting into when I signed on." If this is what I have to do to become a professor, this is what I'm going to do.

Monday, September 30, 2002

gauntlet #1

We all knew that it would come to this at some point.

It was only a matter of time, I knew, that a one-week or two-week period would come along that would just be so loaded with stuff to do that I would feel absolutely inundated. Then I would truly know that Ph.D. does indeed stand for Piled Higher and Deeper.

Those two weeks have come.

In the next two weeks, I have a homework assignment due in one class. I have a project due in three of my classes. I have a midterm in my hardest class. A couple of weeks after that, I have a project due in the fourth class.

This past Friday night, I actually did work on a project. This was a first for me in all my years of school. Beforehand, Friday night was sacred, a time to celebrate the weekend having come. Unfortunately, I knew that I couldn't do that this particular Friday.

I started working on my CIS 6930 project. Why? Because I'd done everything that I could on my COP 5725 (databases) project, and I didn't know how to start my COP 5615 (operating systems) project. I actually got it practically complete by the time the night was over, and finished it up Saturday evening after football (which I will not give up no matter what deadlines loom).

This still leaves me with my COP 5615 project, which I started working on this morning and for the most part have worked on all day. Then tonight, I looked on the course announcement page and saw the magic words.

"The deadline for project 1 has been postponed to 10/10." Woo-hoo!

Now, this doesn't mean that I stopped working on the project. It just means that I didn't have to remind myself to breathe every now and then while doing so.

Monday, September 23, 2002

catching up

It's been a while, I realize. At least it has been for me.

Let's see. So what's happened since I last posted?

Amidst other things. But that's what comes to mind right now.

Wednesday, September 4, 2002

men's Bible study commitment

Last night, I signed up for a men's Bible study every Tuesday night at the BCM. We're going to be using the book Disciplines of a Godly Man, by R. Kent Hughes. I've read the introduction to it already, and it looks like it will be pretty good.

I'm of two minds concerning this study.

One side of me says, "This is a good thing. You're going to be studying the Word of God more often, and with other men who are seeking His will in their lives as men. You'll get a good understanding from the book and from their insights as well. Plus, you'll just plain get to know these guys better."

The other part of me raises an eyebrow and asks, "Come November, do you really think you'll have time for this, what with everything else that will be coming down on you? Projects, papers, homework, et cetera?

I'm thinking that this second part of me stems partly from a "still intimidated by the whole Ph.D. program" mentality. And I realize that it will be difficult, but will it be much more so if I use an hour or two each week to read the chapter we'll be looking at and another hour or two at the actual study? Somehow, I think I'll be more productive if I do so. And of course, that leads to the other part of me, the soft, flabby Christian who really doesn't wanna put in any effort to study God's word if he doesn't feel compelled to. I can't stand that part of me. You'd think I wouldn't listen to it as often as I do.

Well, this time I'm not. Ph.D. program or no, I think that this will be beneficial for me. And so I bought the book and I'm going to do it.

Sunday, August 25, 2002

so it all comes down to this

Ever since May 19, 2001, my life had been in somewhat of a suspended state. There have been times that I've had the opportunity to move in a certain direction, but for some reason or another, things didn't move that way.

I interviewed with several companies. Sometimes I got dinged. Sometimes I got called back and offered a position, only to find it already filled later. I even had an offer for what would have been a relatively interesting job that would pay me, someone with no work experience, reasonably well in a tough economy. But I knew that it wasn't right for me, no matter what the pay.

God started guiding me back to graduate school around late November of last year. He took my eventual goal of becoming a professor and thrust it into center stage, opening doors along the way for the dream to come true. He provided the means for me come to my first choice of graduate schools.

And now the time is almost here. Tomorrow, I have my first day of school in over 15 months. Granted, it's just one class. But I'll be officially back. And I know that the upcoming four years (at least) will be memorable for many reasons. I'm looking forward to it. Given the friendships that I've already made, I won't be walking the path alone.

Monday, August 19, 2002

apartment pictures

By popular demand (hi, mom), here's some pictures of my apartment I took yesterday afternoon.

it's official

I'm now officially a student here. I registered this morning.

In orientation, the graduate secretary said to get there early, because it would be the best way to ensure getting the classes that you wanted. I figured, "hey, it starts at 8. 7:15 should be plenty of time to be in front."

Not even close. There were 25 people in front of me when I got there. As a result, one of the classes that I wanted was filled before I could get into it. So now, I'll be taking two of the harder core courses in addition to two optional courses instead of the originally planned one and three, respectively. I hope that this fall term doesn't follow Alabama's precedent of always being much harder than the spring tems, but it's already shaping up that way.

After that, I went to get books. If there's one thing that I did not miss about college, it was shelling out hundreds of dollars for textbooks and knowing I'd never get that money back. Oh well. I guess I'll look at it as "building my personal library" or something optimistic like that. I looked at Amazon to see if they happened to have them for less, but no such luck.

I had to get up really early to get to campus, so I'm not going on a lot of sleep. I'm going to take a nap, and when I wake up, I'll do my workout.

Tuesday, August 13, 2002

the spice of life

I am a man of simple tastes when it comes to food, for the most part. I'm willing to try most things at least once, but I know when I like something and I know when I don't. At least most of the time. Chinese food is the most glaring exception (what was I thinking?)

That's why I was pleasantly surprised when I tried a Boca Burger for the first time. For those who don't know, a Boca Burger is a vegetarian burger. Now, before you gag, I'll come right out and say that it tastes more like real meat than I would have expected. Much more, in fact. I usually give my burgers the A.1. treatment anyway, which takes out any remaining non-meat taste. I especially like the fact that on the whole, they've got about 20 less grams of fat per burger and just about as much protein. Brandon likee. Now, this doesn't mean that I won't enjoy a real-meat burger every now and then too. :) But it's nice to have alternatives.

Also, I have actually cooked with a spice now (well, other than making cinnamon toast). Specifically, garlic & herb seasoning. I really like baked chicken, but I was tired of doing it plain, so I decided to try adding spices to it. I bought two kinds - the aforementioned garlic & herb, and rotisserie seasoning. Man, those things are expensive! Five bucks for two bottles! At least they'll last me for forever, practically.

Monday, August 5, 2002

how to win friends and influence people

I hope that I don't owe Dale Carnegie royalties or anything now.

So, now that I've discussed my day fitness-wise, we move on to the next portion of the day - meeting people.

I went to a church on Sunday morning, and while the people were nice there, I didn't really get to know them that well. I'm definitely going to go back next week, because it's not fair to them or myself to only give it one shot. But they didn't have a Sunday evening service, which surprised me somewhat and lessened the overall appeal of the church to me. But maybe that's just a summer thing. Anyway...

I'd been trying for a while now to find out if there was a Baptist Campus Ministries or something similar to it on the Florida campus. Of course, you all know that I loved my time at the UA BCM and that most of my best college friends are from there. So I hoped that there was one down here as well.

Well, I couldn't find any information except for an e-mail address at first. I searched UF's web site for all incarnations of "Baptist", "BCM", "BSU", etc. No luck. Then I got wise and searched the online yellow pages. Bingo. I had a physical address. Luckily, it was on my side of the campus, so a bike ride to it wouldn't prove any more difficult than one to campus itself. So I determined today to go and make myself known.

Now, those who know me well realize that I'm an introvert by nature, so it took a little while for me to pump myself up and do it. But I knew that life here will be a lot more fun if I actually knew some people, so buck up and smile, smile, smile, Brandon!

To make a long story short, it's been a really good day for meeting people. Even though this is apparently finals week for the summer term here at UF, there were some people hanging around, and I got to know several of them. Of course, most of it was cursory "who are you, where are you from, what are you studying" information, but just being around people was something that I'd been missing, even though I've only been down here a week. I went to two different places for lunch with two sets of people, and got to know a couple pretty well. We ended up talking for an hour or so, mostly about football (imagine that, UA BCMers: football is a big topic here too!) Of course, I got kidded for my impeccable taste in teams; I've tried to console them by saying that at least Florida is my second-favorite team. I think that they want to convert me. Pray that I keep the faith. :)

Overall, everyone that I talked to seemed very friendly, and it wasn't long before I started making mental connections between them and friends from UA. Tonight, I'm going to go to one of their apartments to watch a preseason NFL game.

So overall, things have gone really well today, and hopefully I've laid a foundation that will allow me to be immediately outgoing around the people at the UF BCM. If there's one thing that I regretted about my time at the UA BCM, it was that I wasn't very outgoing at the start. Hopefully, I'm taking this second chance and running with it.

Thursday, August 1, 2002

first trip to campus

Today has been another busy day already, and it's only 2 p.m. my time. After all the previous days' efforts I let myself sleep in. I got up at 10 and after breakfast made my way to campus.

There is a reason that they hype the bus lines here in Gainesville. And that reason is that there is absolutely no parking at UF. You think it's bad in Tuscaloosa? Oh, no sir. Not even close. Fall down on your knees and be grateful that you do not have to try to drive a car to the University of Florida.

Of course, now that I went and got my Gator 1 ID card, I won't have to either. :)

Also today: a trip to the CISE department, where I got some information about fall schedules and e-mail accounts, the "Infirmary" (I'm not kidding; that's what the building says. Am I at Fort Florida?), where I checked that my immunization records were ready to go (they are), and the "HUB", where I went to the bookstore and got a Florida decal for my car. When in Rome...

All in all, there was a good bit of walking done, even having driven to campus. I've come to the determination that losing weight will not be difficult here. The walking combined with the sweltering heat and humidity will see to that. Good for me, I guess.

Wednesday, July 31, 2002

live from Gainesville!

Guess who's finally back!

And finally got an Internet connection again. Okay, I'm fudging a little bit. I did have my AT&T account still, but I wanted to make the first post in Florida special because it's the first one from my Ethernet connection! Woo-hoo! I've finally reached the world of broadband!

It took a couple of days and a different network card to get that set up, but it's worth it just to see ESPN.com load up in less than a second. :)

So what's been up with me? Well, as you might guess, moving, unpacking, and arranging things, mostly. I've gotten my phone line turned on, and check this...I've actually made it to the 20th century (now that we're in the 21st) and gotten a cell phone! I'm just upgrading all over.

Everything's not in place yet, although I'm a lot farther along than I thought I'd be at this point. Right now, all I have to do left is hang a couple more things and arrange my empty storage bins a little better. After that, I'll probably look into getting a couple more pictures to go on the walls; except for the requisite "Alabama room", most of the walls look pretty barren. Pictures to come when I get the entire place set up like I want it.

So, let's see...the move. The experience was exhausting, let me tell you. I haven't been that tired over a three-day span in a long time. It took me until Tuesday to really recover, and we finished the physical moving on Sunday. I slept very soundly on Monday night; going off of caffeine (again) may have something to do with that.

When I haven't been moving, cleaning, or unpacking stuff, I've made my way outside a couple of times to look around the town. I still haven't made it to the campus yet except to get to the other side. But now that the final piece here at the apartment (the Internet connection) is in place, I'm going to try to get there and have a look around and meet some people in my department. Hopefully, I can get a head start on the orientation thing. I'm looking forward to getting my ID card so I can ride the buses for free. It'll save me gas and give me an easy way of looking around the city...

Well, that's all for now. But I'm alive, well, and complete with a fast Net connection, so all is well. I'm off to eat a late dinner.

Thursday, July 25, 2002

from Birmingham...signing off

This is the last entry I'll make here before next week, because come tomorrow, it's time for the big move.

I can't believe that it's finally here. It's amazing to me what has happened in the past 14 months. When I got out of the MBA program, I was fully convinced that I wouldn't be staying long here; a job was just around the corner.

I will fully admit to the fact that there were times that I really felt that I was never going to go on with my life. Ding letters, failed interviews, and job listing after listing with "x years of experience required" saw to that. But then I decided once and for all to go back to school one more time, and things have started to pick up again. They have led to this moment, the moment that I finally take the next step in my life's journey.

I am looking forward to it. As I've said before, I don't regret the time I've spent here. I've been able to be closer to my grandparents in many ways, keep in touch with friends from Ozark and college, and even make a random road trip or two. But it is time for me to move on. I've had a long enough vacation.

This move will be a first for me in that it will be the first time I have moved someplace where I will be entirely by myself. For an introvert like myself, that is somewhat daunting. Nevertheless, I believe that I will be up to the challenge of meeting new people again. I know that there are people in Alabama who like me...hopefully, Florida people aren't too much different. :)

Anyway, I'll see all of you on the other side of the move, sometime next week, once I get stuff into place, groceries into the refrigerator, and the computer hooked up to the new sweet Ethernet goodness.

Tuesday, July 23, 2002

keeping it cool

My car has air conditioning again. Huzzah!

a day to get things done

My car is in the shop today to get its air conditioner repaired and the brake pads and rotors replaced. It's supposed to be done by five this afternoon; digits are crossing.

I've started the packing process today. All of my "winter" clothes that I have here in Birmingham have been stowed away. I've kept everything else out so far, mainly because it should all fit nicely into the two suitcases, clothes basket, and wicker basket I still have here. I haven't gone through all of the papers I've accumulated since I've been here, but at least my junk piles have been consolidated. :)

Friday, July 19, 2002

we now return you...

I realize that the previous entry held absolutely no interest for what I would consider my site's "core" audience: family and friends. After making the bookmarklets, though, I reasoned that other web designers might be interested in them as well, and it was simplest to just add an entry in the blog. My thanks to Mr. Zeldman for spreading the word; the result was the most traffic in one day in my site's history. But then, one would expect that from a site that measures daily hits in the tens of thousands. :)

That being said, life does indeed go on. I have one week left in Birmingham before the big move, and I'm getting excited about it. I have a decent amount of packing to do here, but that's something that can wait for next week.

Thursday, July 11, 2002

drive

I now know how to drive a stick shift.

At the request of a friend of my grandparents', I took a little trip down to Florida to pick up a car for her. Never mind the fact that I didn't know how to drive a stick shift at the time. Oh, no. My mouth made a promise that my left foot couldn't cash. At least not yet.

After a little bit of practice, I went down there and got the car and drove it all the way back up here. I'd be lying if I didn't tell you that I stalled out a few times, especially starting up hills, but I made it back in one piece. And that's the important thing.

It was actually kind of fun to drive it. I could get used to it. But I'd want a lot more practice before I could really feel proficient at it.

Friday, July 5, 2002

Ricky and Brandon's Day of Fun!

Ricky took the day off today, so I went over to his and Tammy's apartment today. We ate at Zoe's Kitchen, a Greek place in Birmingham. I ate there a couple of times when I was working at Stonebridge. It was as good as I remembered. If you ever happen to be near the Galleria, give it a shot. And the pasta salad is the best I've ever had.

Afterwards, there was the requisite playing of Playstation. Many foes were vanquished, etc., etc.

Ricky and Tammy had a date tonight (all together now...awwwww...), so I came on back home. It was probably a good thing. I was going on about an hour and a half of sleep. So I basically came home and collapsed for a couple of hours. Then I got up to find that my grandparents had cooked steak. I rewarmed it in the microwave (which I know is a travesty of sorts, but I only used medium-low heat, so it didn't reach nuked status) . Mm-wah. I ate well today.

Saturday, June 29, 2002

just like old times

Last night, I went with Ricky and Tammy to the Birmingham Steeldogs game. It was a good enough game, and it actually went into overtime. We lost, but oh well. At least the overtime period somewhat subsidized the $3.25 20-ounce Diet Coke I bought at the game.

Afterward, we all went over to Ricky's parents' house, where I got to see Dave and Cammie Eanes, Ricky's brother and sister-in-law, for the first time since Ricky and Tammy's wedding. I got to see Jacob again (he's over a year old now), and their chocolate Lab, Mocha (I'm so jealous; that's exactly the type of dog that I want one day). We all talked a lot, and played a little impromptu Smush. Good times.

Today, my grandparents returned from a two-week trip west with a couple of friends of theirs. They put about 6500 miles on their friends' car, going all the way out to California, up the coast to Washington, and then back east again. Once again, something that I want to do one day.

Wednesday, June 26, 2002

let the countdown begin

One month until the big move!

Thursday, June 20, 2002

now that's good eatin'

Tonight, Ricky, Tammy and I went to Johnny Ray's. I hadn't had barbecue for a few weeks, so I was in a BBQ mood. It was as good as I'd hoped. Johnny Ray's has just about the best onion rings in the world, I'd have to say.

Now, I'm hoping that I can fall asleep quickly enough to let me get a decent amount of sleep before the soccer game at 6 tomorrow morning.

Monday, June 17, 2002

Yep, it's 4:20

What on earth am I doing up at this time of day? Scoring one for foolish optimism. We're in the final eight in the World Cup now...does that officially make us a soccer nation?

I saw Scott and Kelley Shirley yesterday at church, and went over to their house for lunch. Kudos to Scott on his great grilled chicken.

Work on my "masterpiece" (snicker) continues; I'm in the midst of chapter eight right now. Most of my work has been spent fleshing out characters and locations. I've gotten the feeling that this is going to take a little longer to complete than I thought it would. Writing is not easy. I know that I'll go back through this first draft, once I eventually get it down, and tear it apart. But it's fun, a way to pass time, and it's a new experience. I haven't really attempted a story of this length before.

Friday, June 7, 2002

gah!

Yesterday I did one of the dumber things I've done in quite a while. Unwittingly, I deleted my entire bookmarks file, including links to articles that I have no earthly idea of the actual address of. So for a couple of hours yesterday, I was engrossed in reconstructing my entire set of bookmarks.

That's right, kids...I'll be teaching computer science one day!

Monday, June 3, 2002

weekend update

Saturday, I went over to Ricky and Tammy's place. Bobby had come up from Orlando, so I got to see him too. We ended up grilling out, and it turned out great, save the mosquitoes, and the "bug repellent" that Tammy gave me to put on. I got to grill for the first time in at least a couple of years, and the burgers I did turned out pretty good. So did the sausages Ricky did. He intended to cook eight pieces, but nearly had nine after a mishap with the knife.

Afterward, the four of us ended up going to O. Henry's, a coffee house in Homewood. Some friends of the other three were there. I had met a couple of them before at Ricky and Tammy's wedding. We worked on a crossword puzzle, and if my memory serves correctly, got everything except a couple of letters. I also earned a nickname from people I may never see again - "slewed" - from the crossword clue "turned on a pivot". It fit in with all the other clues that we had, and hey, at least it was right...

Yesterday, I didn't feel very good. It might have had something to do with the fact that it was 80 degrees inside the house, and the air conditioner never wanted to come on. I spent the majority of the day with two fans blowing on me.

I finally got over my writer's block, and have the first three or so chapters of my "great American novel" (yeah, right) completed. Well, the first incarnation of it, anyway, as I think that they need to be fleshed out some more. I'm not crazy about unecessary exposition, but at the same time I don't want to leave any part of the story untold. It's more of a fine line than I had thought it would be. I do like the way that the story's progressing thus far, and the research that I've done for it has proven interesting, to say the least. More to come.

Friday, May 31, 2002

random thoughts

Drat. A long time ago, I wrote about the tyranny of the blank screen. Now I'm getting it in printed form. Or lack thereof. I've done a lot of background work on my project, but I can't get it started the way I want to. Hopefully, I'll get past the writer's block soon.

Does the winner of the National Spelling Bee really belong on espn.com? For that matter, should the event be televised (live, even) on ESPN? I could see this back in the day, like in 1979, when it would probably have fit in well with stuff like roller derby. But now, it's just not right. Nothing against the spelling bee. But it's not a sport, people. Someone at ESPN should have had some prospicience concerning this...

A new insane thought.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Back from Gainesville

So now I've officially been to Gainesville. My parents and I went apartment hunting there this past weekend. I had a list of seven or eight places that I had originally wanted to take a look at. After we saw the first place, I had scratched four of them off of my list. How, you ask? Because I noted that they didn't have washers and dryers in them, and after taking a look at the first place's "laundry facilities", I knew that a washer and dryer was a necessity, not an option.

So we looked at a few other places before deciding upon a complex called Hidden Lake. It's very new; in fact, I'll be the first person ever to live in my apartment. I'm about a mile and a half away from campus, but the buildings I'll be going to the most are on the other side of the campus. So I'm really about 2 1/2 miles away.

Anyway, we set a move-in date, and paid all the up-front fees (that is to say, my parents paid them :) ). Come late July, I'll be in Gainesville for good!

Notes on the trip and other things:

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

new project

Well, at least this time my staying up until 5 in the morning resulted in something productive.

Fueled by a burst of inspiration, I've started sketching details on a pretty big project I'm looking at starting up. It will be my first foray into creative writing in quite some time. Hopefully, it won't take too long to complete, and then you'll get to see it here.

Friday, May 17, 2002

1122 meeting

Tonight, there will be a meeting of 1122 Productions management to discuss the organization's future web plans. Oh, yeah, and we'll probably play some Playstation or something too. But most importantly, tonight...we grill!

More 1122 stuff: the 1122 timeline has been updated to reflect the events of the past nine months or so.

Monday, May 13, 2002

one-hit wonders

Did anyone else watch VH1's "Top 100 One-hit wonders" last night? It was really enjoyable. I had the most fun, actually, from two things: getting that "Oh, yeah! I totally forgot about them!" feeling when the next song was introduced (that happened quite often) and from trying to guess what the biggest one-hit wonders would be. I did reasonably well. My choice for #1 at the beginning of the broadcast ("Ice Ice Baby") ended up #7. Once I saw what was voted #1, though, I had to wholeheartedly agree. I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it.

Friday, May 10, 2002

playing electrician

Yesterday, my grandmother got her hair done. This has no point in the story other than since she was out of the house, my grandfather decided to do something that she didn't want him to try to do - fix the overhead light in the dining room. Of course, yours truly quickly enlisted in the cause. You don't think I'm going to let an 80-year-old man get on a ladder by himself, do you?

Anyway, my grandfather went and got a new light socket for the light. The old one had bakelite that had worn away and somehow caused the whole thing to not work. He insisted upon trying to install the new one himself. So I held the ladder for him and shined a flashlight into the crevice where the socket was going. He needed to connect the two wires to the new socket. But he got tired. So I told him to let me try.

We now have a working light fixture. It really wasn't that difficult of a task; getting two wires connected to the screws on the sides of the socket and tightening the screws to ensure the connection is not that tough. But to hear my grandfather talk about it, you'd think I'd built the power plant for the city of Birmingham.

My grandfather doesn't understand why I like school so much, and he doesn't think much of the computer topics that I'm learning about. But he's convinced now that school's all right - after all, if I learned to do that in school (and I must have, seeing as I've never done anything else, right?), then school must not be that bad.

Sunday, May 5, 2002

no egg on my face

This morning, I made my first omelet. Well, pretty close to an omelet, anyway. I could pick up the entire contents of the pan at one time and flip one half over the other, which qualifies to me as an omelet.

My previous omelet experiences involved making a lot of attempts, then making a lot of scrambled eggs. But today I ate my one-piece "egg beaters" creation in triumph! Okay, so it still tasted like one big scrambled egg. I didn't have anything to add to it. That's not the point, anyway. The point is, I could have, and now there's another dish in my somewhat limited repertoire.

Thursday, April 25, 2002

now we wait...again

So I called up a temp agency this morning and sent them my résumé. The lady told me that if my qualifications matched something, they'd let me know. I guess I should get off the phone line...

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

The Big News

And now for the moment all (2) of you have been waiting for.

This upcoming fall, I will be attending the University of Florida, where I will be starting the Ph.D. program in computer science.

The process of getting to this point was pretty long. If you're really that interested, and you don't already get my "PhD Chronicles" e-mail, let me know and I'll send you all the gory details.

Monday, April 8, 2002

Message in a bottle

For the past week, until this morning, I had not been on the Internet at all.

That is the longest stretch that I can remember not getting online voluntarily since I started college. I just haven't wanted to. To those who e-mailed me (hey, Ricky!), I'm sorry that I haven't e-mailed back sooner. I just haven't felt up to it.

I was sick the first part of the week. The last half of the week, the only avenue that I had to getting online was unavailable to me until the evening, and I didn't take advantage of it then.

I'm at my home. Well, the home where my parents live. The lines have gotten blurry over the last year, as I've divided my time between three dwelling places. I'll pop up from time to time again on my online home, but until I get back to Birmingham, updates are probably going to be sparse, unless I just get rolling.

Hope everyone out there's doing all right.

Monday, March 11, 2002

at the (welded) seams

My car is falling apart.

For the past couple of weeks, I have noticed that the engine was running loudly. My grandfather noted it before then. My dad says that this is a wheel bearing that needs replacement. I don't know what a wheel bearing is.

The brakes are squealing again, and I know enough to know that this means that the brake pads probably need replacing again. I also know that the rotors probably should be shaven down, but they cannot because their diameter is too small already. I only know this because I remember the mechanic saying it the last time I had the brake pads replaced, about a year ago.

My car is leaking coolant again. It's a very slow leak. This isn't the first time. I bought some coolant to make sure that it was topped off so I wouldn't overheat the engine, but other than that I don't know what I can do with it.

And finally, for the second time in three trips to Florida, my air conditioning has gone out. I would say that this meant that I needed to change the freon, but I got freon after the other time it happened to me when I came down here. Therefore, I do not know the solution to this problem either.

The final analysis: my car needs to go into the shop, and I know nothing about cars.

Thursday, March 7, 2002

Live from Florida

I've taken a bit of a break from the site recently. I've been home, and yesterday I made the seven-and-a-half hour trip to Viera, Florida, where my sister and brother-in-law live.

Yesterday, I found out that my transcripts hadn't reached Florida yet for some reason. I've spent the morning trying to get the situation rectified. Hopefully, it's okay now.

What are the plans for me while I'm down here? I don't really know. I do know that Brianna and Mike have an off day tomorrow, but they've got stuff to do. We'll figure something out; it's always fun down here in Florida.

Tuesday, February 26, 2002

they're all out the door

I sent off the OU application today, as well as the check for my Florida State application. Tonight, I filled out the Texas A&M application online (complete with credit card payment option. Nothing to mail off; nice). So it's all done now. Now all I can do is wait and see who'll let me in and hopefully give me some money along the way.

Monday, February 25, 2002

weekend update

The Florida State application is all but done. I've sent the online parts, and all I have to do now is mail the application identification and my application fee. The Oklahoma application is also going out tomorrow. All I have left is the Texas A&M application, and that one can also be primarily done online.

If that Bama-Florida game didn't Roll your Tide, I don't know what would. SEC Champs, baby!

Ran into Scott and Kelley again at church tonight, and went to Chili's afterwards. Another married couple from their church met us there. In a neat twist, the couple I met spent a few years at OU while the husband got his master's in music, so it was neat to hear from someone who'd experienced one of the schools that I'm looking at.

Another "Small World" update: Kelley, who went to UNA for a year, knows Tim Kilgore, whom most of my UA friends know at least in passing or as Karey's brother.

The service was a presentation done by the youth of the church. It was a big youth choir, too; there were at least 100 singers. Made me wish that I'd gotten to do something like that in my time as a youth. Oh well; I got my opportunities at the BCM, I guess...

I was getting a little burned out on the Olympics as a whole toward the end there, but I've got to admit that Olympic hockey is much more entertaining to watch than the NHL. Too bad that Team USA lost, but hey, it's still our first medal in hockey since 1980...

I was working tonight on moving my blog to a new content management system, but I've run into a snag that has to be worked on by our host. If and when it's put into place, this site probably won't look much different, but hopefully some other areas of 1122 Productions will be, and there will be other ones added as a result of the new CMS.

Friday, February 22, 2002

take what you can get

The water line that leads to my grandparents' washer and dryer will be fixed later on today. This is good news for someone who's run out of socks.

Thursday, February 21, 2002

One down...

The Florida application is out the door! The rest of them don't have too far to go.

Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Falling into place

I got my semi-official GRE scores back today. I say semi-official because I can't actually send a copy of them to the universities for my official scores, but at least two of them want a copy of them so they can start processing my transcript. Whatever. :)

Since I've gotten these back now, I should be able to send off most of the application material for all four schools this week. Then we play the waiting game.

This past weekend was very fun. Friday night, I hung out with Ricky and Tammy; I got to see their new computer (lucky dogs) and we played some NCAA. Good times. Although it's pretty sad that we barely could beat UConn with Alabama...then again, it was the 2000 team... :)

Sunday, I went to a church in Trussville, and ran into Scott and Kelley Shirley, some Ozark Baptist friends who are now living in the area. I had lunch with them and got to see their nice new house. It was good to get to see them...

Added an insane thought. Imagine that...actual new content!

Wednesday, February 13, 2002

My old stompin' grounds

I went to Tuscaloosa yesterday to order some transcripts to send out to various universities. I decided to stick around and go to Discovery at the BCM that night.

I got to see a bunch of friends, some of whom I hadn't seen since the bowl game, and some before that. It was fun seeing all the double-takes and hearing, "I thought that was your car out there!" Afterwards, Ginny, CYP, Bill, and I went to O'Charley's. Good times...good times.

While at Discovery, I noted to myself that I really missed this aspect of college. It was nice to have a service like that in the middle of the week. Wherever I go, I hope that something like that exists.

Saturday, February 9, 2002

not-so-handy study aid

I got the official GRE test preparation CD today; they apparently send it to everyone who registers for the test. Of course, I got it four days after I took the test, so its usefulness is somewhat limited. :)

Thursday, January 31, 2002

Looking forward

When I was finishing up school last year, I thought that it would be so nice to have free time again. Time to not have anything to worry about in terms of tests and papers and projects and such. When 5 o'clock hit, I would be done for the day.

Now, I have come to learn that having too much free time is in many ways even worse than not having enough.

I've come to the conclusion that having this much time is not a good thing for me. The first problem is that I'm not doing anything of note, and I'm not pressured to do so. Things like this site and the others that I maintain that were once pleasant distractions are now much harder to work on. I think it must be because I can't get inspired to do so, and there are lots of days where I don't feel like I did anything that's worth writing about. That's not being self-deprecating; it's just the truth. There would be plenty of days that I would write something along the lines of "Checked e-mail and replied to it. Surfed the web. Looked at college admissions information. Played a couple of games. Watched TV. Ate. Went to bed."

As I've noted already, I've gotten cabin fever. I'm ready (and have been for a while now) to be back on my own again. It's not as if I'm a bird in a cage. There's just a mentality in this place that inspires lethargy.

I realize that this period in my life has been good in many ways. For one, I've been a first line of communication and family support for both of my grandparents when they've been in the hospital. I've been able to help them with a lot of things that they didn't feel like doing or need to do during those times, and even in everyday circumstances. I've developed a tougher skin of sorts, and learned that sometimes in an argument, one can't do anything more than simply walk away, knowing that there's no way that you'll ever get the other side to consider, much less accept, your opinion on something.

That having been said, I'll come right out and say it.

I'm tired of this period in my life.

I'm looking forward to moving on. I'm looking forward to long nights of having projects due the next day and seemingly having miles to go. I'm looking forward to sudden inspiration for my web site in the midst of intense pressure, and dropping everything to capture it. I'm looking forward to having a meeting place where I know that friends will always be waiting again. I'm looking forward to my own place again, with my own things, held captive so long in a 10-by-20-by-12 storage area.

I'm looking forward to the next chapter in my life.

Wednesday, January 23, 2002

Out of the doldrums

Today I registered for the GRE. I'm going to be taking it in Tuscaloosa on February 5th at 12:00. This step alone has filled me with a lot of energy and just makes me look forward to getting back to school that much more.

I've realized that a lot of the site has been left stagnant for a while, and that's no good. While I have had updates to the blog section, content that I've meant to have on the site, or meant to write, has gone undone. Redesigns have gone by the boards. I guess my initial hypothesis is true; the amount of time that I spend on this site is inversely proportional to the amount of time I have available to work on it. I guess you could throw in another inversely proportional variable concerning the imminence of project due dates, but that'd be getting just a little bit geeky.

Anyway, I've got some ideas concerning the site, both in content and in design, and I'll try to do some work on them in the near future.

Monday, January 21, 2002

A humble request to graduate schools

A good score on the GMAT should be a reasonable equivalent to a good score on the GRE. Having to spend more money on another graduate entrance exam is tough on the ol' wallet.

Friday, January 11, 2002

It really is the perfect time to go back

I went to bed at 7 this morning. I wasn't even that tired when I did go to bed. I woke up around 1.

I think that this is one more advantage to going back to school now: I still have the ability to keep crazy hours like this.

Thursday, January 3, 2002

Hmph.

I was going to watch the Rose Bowl tonight, but it's not much of a game. When it got to 27-0, I turned it off. I see it's 34-0 at the half...

So I decided to give my new DVD player another spin. I went to Radio Shack and bought an RF converter today in an attempt to get it to work. I hooked everything up...still no dice. All I want is to see The Matrix! I guess I just need a new TV. :)

Snow in Alabama!

Here's a picture (opens in a small window)

Okay, I realize that to those of you who aren't from the south, this is no big thing. I mean, you can even see the leaves under the snow. But if you're from Alabama, any snow is an occasion. :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2002

School's back in session

Most of the people who read this site already know this little bit of information, but I'll go ahead and say it anyway, because it's a big step for me.

I'm going back to school.

I've always wanted to get a doctorate, and I've wanted to be a professor just about as long. I love the idea of learning things and teaching others what I've learned as a job description. I love the university atmosphere.

And now is the perfect time to go back to school. Other than taking the final step toward my ultimate career goal, I know how to live like a college student right now, and it's a much easier transition period for me than it would be if I were to go out into the "real world" for a few years, then come back. I don't have a family to feed or take care of; it's just me right now.

So I just got done with sending out a "reverse ding letter" to BellSouth. It felt strange being on this end of it. I've already sent e-mails to a few of my former professors asking for times that I can meet with them to talk about being a professor and the process of earning a doctorate. And I've already started the information-gathering process about doctoral programs and financial aid.

I'm very excited about this. My goal is to start this upcoming fall. I don't know where or in what field yet, but the knowledge that I'm taking this step is exhilarating. More on this to come.

Monday, December 31, 2001

Resolution

I'm back from my somewhat self-imposed Internet exile. I had wanted to enjoy the holiday season without worrying a whole lot about updating my web site. But I'll be updating more frequently again from now on.

As for resolutions, I only have one this year. Looking back upon resolutions that I've made, I've seen attempts to try to be a better person in one facet or another. But it's been the rare occasion that I've actually kept them.

My resolution this year is very simple. I resolve to live each day for God, to let God be in control of all areas of my life, and to seek His will for my future.

Happy New Year to everyone, and I'll see you all in 2002!

Friday, December 21, 2001

Christmas plans

Today I make the annual pilgrimage to Ozark, Alabama, the starting leg of this year's Christmas-Independence Bowl-New Year's trips. Things on the list to do before the 25th:

Friday, December 14, 2001

Another one down, another one down...

It appears that I won't be working at ComFrame either. I got the latest in a series of ding letters (this one via e-mail) yesterday. Oh, I also forgot to mention the verbal ding I got from the company I temped for a while back.

Couple this with the fact that Regions Bank has never gotten back to me even though it's now December (they promised a response by mid-November), and you've got a depressed unemployed person.

As I stated previously, I've got a second interview with BellSouth. I still haven't heard anything from Command Alkon. I've decided that if both of those fall through, I'm officially going to start looking at colleges again.

I had hoped to get some work experience before making the "big choice" in my life as to my future place of work: the university setting or the "real world". This current recession is just about to make the decision for me.

There are a lot of other things going on in my life that I'm not really wanting to expound on right now. I'm going home this weekend, which will help some. I've got family Christmas get-togethers on both sides of the family this weekend back home.

Monday, December 10, 2001

BellSouth update

I have a second interview with BellSouth next Monday at 9 a.m. here in town. Interestingly, it's for a position different from the one that I originally planned on interviewing one. It's more of an MBA-type position - it's less programming-oriented. It would be out of Atlanta. We'll see...

Friday, December 7, 2001

A special congrats to the December grad!

Today is Ginny's last day of college. Well, except for her final, anyway. I know how it feels...bittersweet.

And I'm more than a little sad about not being named among the people who have influenced you. :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2001

Go me!

I've now finished Christmas shopping for three people, which is three people more than I'm normally done with at this time. Being your typical male and a computer geek, here's my method for when shopping is done:

if (month = 12 && day >= 20)
shop();
else
procrastinate();

Also, I have an interview with BellSouth on Thursday for a potential job here in Birmingham. Wish me luck!

Oh, and there's another insane thought up. I must have let my mind wander recently...

Tuesday, November 27, 2001

Random minutiae

The ComFrame interview went okay, I guess. We'll just have to see.

A new edition of UA Football Facts is out.

Mozilla users (read: me, probably) will see a little pressing on... icon where their bookmark formerly was. IE users would get the same thing, but I don't have a program that can make icon files on my computer. I did have one when I had Visual C++ installed on my computer, but I don't anymore. You're not missing that much, anyway.

Show that's rapidly becoming my answer to Ricky and Tammy's watching Buffy and Angel: Smallville. Problem is, I keep forgetting that it comes on Tuesday nights at 8! I usually run into it about 15 minutes in. And besides it being a pretty good show, come on! Clark's dad once drove the General Lee! What more could you possibly want? :)

Wish me luck!

I interview with ComFrame today at 2:30.

A couple of other things that I plan on doing today: I need to go to the closest Hallmark. Why? Because I need a Yankee Candle for the holidays. I'm also planning on making a Bama Fever run, because I want to get another Alabama ornament. One of these days I'm just going to have an entire Bama tree. :)

Sunday, November 25, 2001

Decoration

What's that under the options section? Could it be a new Christmas theme?

Actually, if this is your first time to pressing on (hi, by the way!), I've made this theme the default for this time of year only. It needs to be tweaked a little more (maybe a bit too much red and green, I think), but I wanted to get my decorations up as soon as possible. :) I like the different font style, though...a little change of pace from the rest of the themes.

Speaking of decorations, I spent the better part of the afternoon looking for the perfect Christmas tree. I finally found it: it's a 7½’ Manhattan Pine. It's one of those nice prelit ones that comes apart in three sections that fold up pretty nicely. I like it. It's pretty plain right now, because all of my decorations are in my storage area. But I got some glass balls for it, and my grandparents believe that they've found some of my grandmother's old ornaments. So it will be ready to go soon. Pictures to come, I'm sure.

Hm. An on-the-fly thought: that has the makings of a good project, doesn't it? How about sending me pictures of your Christmas tree, with perhaps some history behind it and how it's decorated? I'll put up a special section if I get enough stuff.

Friday, November 16, 2001

Today's itinerary

Today I'm going to interview with the company that I've been temping with for the past week. This, of course, is a very good thing. I also turn in my invoice today, which means I shall be paid in a week. This, of course, is also a very good thing. Excelsior!

Tuesday, November 13, 2001

Yes, I'm here...

It's just that you don't have as much time to update when you've got a job.

Sadly, the job is not of the permanent variety. It is, however, a pretty nice setup for a temp job. I can't really go into the details. You'll just have to believe me.

I've been doing this for a few days now, and hopefully I'll get a few more before the position expires. Thanks, Mary Lisa!

Some random thoughts during the course of the past week:

And finally, a preview: look for information on Flannel Quest 2K1 and the special Iron Bowl edition of UA Football Facts!

Monday, October 29, 2001

Red Alert!

So I've found something new to pass the time: Command & Conquer. Ricky has let me borrow one of the discs to play around with, and I have found myself engaged in virtual battle for much of today. And proving to myself that I would not make a very good general.

Monday, October 22, 2001

News flash

Command Alkon called me this afternoon and wants me to come in for an interview on Thursday. They are a technology company, and they're located in Birmingham! <Phoebe>So, yay!</Phoebe>

This serves well to balance out the bad news of this morning...

"It's not you, it's me"

From an e-mail from Hewitt received just now:

Unfortunately, we will not be continuing the interview process at this time. This decision should not be interpreted as a negative reflection upon your accomplishments, but rather the result of our particular needs.

Uh, huh. Sure. In our communication class in the MBA program, we learned how to write letters to soften the blow in certain circumstances, "ding letters" being one. Once you've written a couple, you start figuring out just how half-hearted they can sound. They've always got that "It's not you, it's me" feeling to them.

Somehow I can't help but believe that it is actually me.

Thursday, October 18, 2001

Interview week is now over

Well, now we play the waiting game. The interview with Hewitt went well enough, I suppose, but who knows? I'm supposed to hear something from them sometime next week. If I get a thumbs-up, the pressing on... nationwide tour will be making a stop in Atlanta sometime this November.

My friend Ginny has told me that this page doesn't show up in AOL's browser for some reason. Grr. I'm starting to wonder if I might just go to something much simpler in version 8 of pressing on...

Tuesday, October 16, 2001

so I'm back

The interview was very short. It only took about 15 minutes. I don't know whether that's a good thing or a bad thing. Oh well. I'll know something in November...

I went by the BCM after the interview, but no one was around. Anybody going to be there Thursday around noon? I've got my other interview at 11:30 on Thursday, and I'd like to see some people...

Friday, October 12, 2001

Football facts, collapsing menus, and interviews

To begin with, this week's edition of UA Football Facts is online.

Also, the first step in a slightly new look for the front page: the menus on the right side collapse and expand, for a somewhat cleaner look (in my opinion). This probably won't work in Netscape 4, and may even crash the browser. I haven't implemented this yet on the front page because I want your opinions. Yes, you matter here at pressing on! :)

Finishing up, I've got a couple of interviews next week! One's with Regions on Tuesday, the other is with Hewitt Associates on Thursday. Both are on campus.

Tuesday, October 2, 2001

Hey everyone!

I'm back! Here's an update on things: to begin with, my grandmother is doing better now. Her arm still hurts (that's what was wrong with her), but she feels somewhat better and is out of the hospital.

As loyal readers know, nothing got updated last week at all. I didn't even check my e-mail during the last part of the week because I couldn't get online. Something was wrong with my dial-up service provider. (One more reason I need to have a cable modem.) UA Football Facts hasn't been updated in a while; I will do that for both the Arkansas and South Carolina games later this week. I didn't do picks last week either. I'm discontinuing them entirely just because I don't think anyone really cares. :)

The job hunt is slowly progressing. Some contacts have been made, and some opportunities look to be coming, but I haven't gotten the all-important interview yet. Stay tuned.

Fall is almost here. The weather hasn't completely turned cold yet. But I did wear flannel yesterday for the first time since last winter. It's almost Flannel Quest time, Ricky...can you feel it?

Monday, September 24, 2001

hiatus

I'm going to be taking a little break from pressing on. How long, I don't know. In the meantime, if you would please pray for my grandmother, I'd really appreciate it. Thanks.

Thursday, September 20, 2001

Career fair notes

Yesterday morning, my alarm went off at 7:30 a.m. That's about as early as it's gone off in three months. And true to my nature, I hit the snooze not once, but twice.

Driving to Tuscaloosa wearing a suit was a strange experience. I don't know why; it just was.

I took 40 résumés with me, and ended up dropping about 25 of them.

I talked with companies located as close to me as down the street, and as far away as Pella, Iowa.

I was so tired from everything that I fell asleep last night at 7.

All in all, I'd have to say that the Career Fair went pretty well. I think that I've got some good chances for employment. After the last couple of months, it's a solid step in the right direction.

Tuesday, September 18, 2001

How out of shape am I?

This morning I had the weather channel on and I saw where it was only 75 degrees outside. Perfect bike-riding weather, I thought. So I got my helmet and headed out.

The street that my grandparents live on is probably about a mile and a half long. After making my way to the end of it, I had a choice to make. I could turn around and head back, or I could move onward. I chose the latter, and took a left.

Big mistake.

I went down this road, and eventually found myself in a Tour de France situation. Hills behind me, hills before me. Well, hill behind me, hill before me, actually. I had only ascended one hill, and already I was tired. No, more than tired. Light-headed.

And I had already felt the rush of the post-climb coast down the other side, which meant I had to climb it again.

Now, in my defense, this isn't a small hill. It's a pretty good climb. But compared to say, the hill that I used to ride up every morning when I went to class from Rose Towers at Alabama, it's not anything. If Lance Armstrong had been there, he'd probably just have shook his head.

I mustered up whatever stamina I had, and I didn't have a whole lot, and made my way up to the top of the hill. I got to feel the exhilaration of coasting down the other side of the hill, but I still had to make it back home.

That was a mile and a half that I rode back to my grandparents' house, but it felt like the entire Tour. By the time that I made it to their backyard, I was spent. I had to lie down for a while. And that's just not right. Man, I'm not even 24 yet! That's not supposed to happen! :)

So that's it. I'm tired of not having any energy. It's time to get in shape again. I won't be able to ride tomorrow because of the career fair. But if I get a chance, I'll ride again Thursday. I just won't take that hill on again. Not yet.

Monday, September 17, 2001

So I've bought a book

Today I went to Books-A-Million and bought The Javascript Bible, the complete source on everything Javascript. I've been looking for something to learn for a while now, and this was the way I decided to go. I know a little Javascript, but nothing like I'd like to; having a solid knowledge of it is one of my checkpoints.

I'm going to try to take a step toward another checkpoint a couple of days from now, when I go to the career fair at UA. Anyone interested in getting together for lunch or something while I'm over there?

Tuesday, September 11, 2001

...

Pray today. Please pray today.

Friday, September 7, 2001

It's that time of year...

...when you go outside for three minutes and come back in with seven mosquito bites.

Friday, August 31, 2001

Amusement park magnate

Last night, after watching Arkansas-UNLV and Arizona-San Diego State, I decided to play a little Roller Coaster Tycoon. Before I knew it, it was 4:00 in the morning. I had no idea what time it was.

I love games like that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2001

Random musings

I've added a couple of new UA football facts, if you're interested.

Sorry about not posting a lot recently...I just can't seem to find the enthusiasm for it. Yesterday I went to a bookstore, looking for a computer book to learn something new. But I just couldn't get interested in any of the languages or topics. I guess I'm just in a funk.

Wednesday, August 22, 2001

Just like back in pre-school

I have re-learned that naps are A Good Thing ® I have mentioned before that I have not been sleeping well at night; however, this doesn't seem to translate into the day. This is also A Good Thing.

Not the job kind, but still kind of interesting

Today, I got an e-mail from a reporter from the Dallas Morning News. They're doing an article on a new fight song for Southern Methodist University that is debuting this year. I guess that someone found my fight song lyrics site, because tonight I found an e-mail message asking for an interview concerning fight songs and their histories.

So I'm going to be giving Dallas a call soon. Kinda cool, I think...

Friday, August 17, 2001

A few things

I've made some changes to a couple of things internally. Everything should look normal, but if it doesn't, please let me know.

Also, I received my first rejection notice today. Stanford calls them "ding letters". So I've been dinged. :(

Thursday, August 16, 2001

Hip new fashion sense

Just so you know...

In other words, I'm clean-cut no more. Well, at least until my first job interview. :)

Sunday, August 12, 2001

Back in Birmingham

My sister and brother-in-law came home for the weekend, so I came down as well. We played golf this weekend. I played 9 holes on Friday, and 45 yesterday. I am sunburned. My shoulders hurt. My fingers feel arthritic. I'm golfed out for awhile.

But now I'm back up here, resuming the job hunt, etc., etc.

Added a new insane thought.

Thursday, August 9, 2001

Minor résumé update

I've added an objective statement to my résumé, if anyone cares to look at it. I'm starting to wonder if anyone does.

Saturday, August 4, 2001

Some memories of last weekend

Just to name a few:

Tuesday, July 31, 2001

The days and nights of Brandon German

Right now, my sleeping habits are completely out of whack. I have been going to bed anywhere from 3 to 5 a.m., and getting up anywhere from 10 to 12 a.m. This is not good for someone who needs to get his body used to an eventual 10-11 p.m. to 6-6:30 a.m. sleep schedule.

So last night, in an effort to gradually get myself to that point, I voluntarily go to bed at 1 a.m. I fall asleep quickly (for me, anyway).

So when do I wake up today? 11:45!

Obviously, my body is missing the clue here. I'd go to bed at 10 tonight, but I'm afraid I might not get up until the next afternoon...

Monday, July 23, 2001

Hey from Ricky's...

I realize that I haven't been updating a whole lot since I've gotten back to Birmingham. I don't have Internet access anywhere but when I come over to Ricky's. That should change soon, though.

Things have not gone well in the job search. I went to Kindred today, and found out that they had hired someone else for the position that they had originally offered me. So we're back at square one, unfortunately...

Anyone out there interested in hiring me? Jump to the résumé.

Thursday, July 19, 2001

More trip notes

For road construction, nothing beats western Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. There were nine different construction areas in Arkansas west of Little Rock alone...

I-40 is not a bad little interstate to drive in terms of scenery. A lot of farmland, and a decent amount of cities to break up the horizon...

While tubing, I tried to perform a trick where you intentionally flip the tube one full revolution as you swing wide to one side. I nearly got my shoulder dislocated for the trouble...

There are more "4th and Broadway" intersections in central Oklahoma than there needs to be. Hesper (my cousin) will get that, if she reads this...

I got sunburned on the first day, per the norm. It's not as if I wasn't trying to keep myself from it happening. I distinctly remember putting SPF-50 on at one point...

My golf game is about the same, whether I play in Alabama, Florida, or Oklahoma. I did have my worst score ever on a hole however: a 14...

More to come.

Wednesday, July 18, 2001

Stats about the trip

For you number-crunchers out there:

More a little later.

Monday, July 16, 2001

And we're back...

Well, it's about time I updated, isn't it? I've been out in Oklahoma for the past couple of weeks, and I didn't have much of a chance to update while I was out there. I've been back for a couple of days, but I can only update for now when I'm over at Ricky's. The trip was a blast...there's a lot to tell. I'll do that later this week, because tomorrow I will be going back home to get my things that are down there (including my computer). I'll be down there for a couple of days, and I'll tell all about the Oklahoma trip then. Look for a lot here, and at least one or two thoughts to come out of the trip.

After that, I'll come back up to Birmingham, set up camp, decide once and for all on my job situation, do the groomsman thing at Ricky and Tammy's wedding, and start looking for places to live.

Friday, June 29, 2001

Oh, it's on!

I see that Ricky's been doing a little bit of gloating about his victory last night. That's all good...it's all part of the plan. First we give him the big head, then we swoop in for the kill.

And I also notice that while he mentioned ping-pong, he failed to note that he's also never beat me in racquetball. :)

Heh heh...

I just thought of the perfect wedding gift for Ricky and Tammy. Shh! Don't tell anyone!

The pressing on... summer tour continues

I'm now in Birmingham again. I'm staying a couple of nights with Ricky and going to Huntsville for a shower for Tammy and him on Saturday. We played tennis tonight...Ricky beat me 6-2. I figure that that's two games better than I thought I'd do. :) If I kept that up, I'd probably be in shape relatively quickly.

After that, I'll spend a couple more days in Birmingham, then make the trip west to Oklahoma! Yep, I called out there today, and it's been confirmed. I'll probably make the drive on Tuesday (or possibly Wednesday) and spend about a week out there. I haven't seen that part of my family since my sister and brother-in-law's wedding, and I haven't seen Oklahoma in at least 12 years. So I'm really looking forward to this trip. Well, all except for the drive, anyway. It will certainly be the longest drive that I've ever undertaken, beating any of my trips to Melbourne by at least three hours. But at least I'll see a bunch of new things along the way.

Monday, June 25, 2001

Home again, home again

Well, I'm back from Florida. The drive was boring and long, as usual, but it's done now, which is a nice thing. It'll be nice to have the option to fly down there when I want to visit once I actually have some money. :)

My sister, brother-in-law, and I were planning to play golf sometime this past weekend, but unfortunately it rained pretty much all the time. On Sunday, 8:00 p.m. Eastern time, we saw the sun come out for the first time all weekend (for all of 30 minutes) and harbored bitter thoughts. We were also going to see my grandparents (who were vacationing in Daytona) but my grandmother wasn't feeling well so we decided to let her rest. The best laid plans...

Wednesday, June 20, 2001

Itineraries

Today, I had to get out of the apartment. Not really a case of cabin fever so much as the fact that the apartment had paint removed from its tubs. Yes, that's right. The tenants before my sister and brother-in-law painted their bathtubs. O...kay. Anyway, whatever the paint remover was, the fumes from it were noxious. So I had to vacate the premises or risk a massive headache.

First I tried riding my brother-in-law's bike around town. Viera is one of those places where bike riding around town is not only safe, but commonplace. I was going to ride up to the grocery store and get a couple of things. However, the bike's tires were somewhat flat, so I didn't get that far. I didn't want to damage them, so I turned around and headed back. After I put the bike away, I decided to go to the beach. I hadn't done that yet on the trip, and I always like to see the ocean at least once when I come down here. So I made the trip over to A1A and drove to Satellite Beach. I didn't really do much there...got in the water for a second, found a shell, did some thinking.

I came back to the apartment to find the fumes, while still present, much more conducive to staying indoors. So that's what I did.

Tomorrow, I'm going to lay out again...my initial attempt has turned from pink to extremely light tan, so I'm ready for another round. I might actually swim a little too...haven't done much of that yet. Tomorrow afternoon, after Mike gets home from work, we're going to play soccer with some of his co-workers. This has the potential to be bad...

Thursday, June 14, 2001

Indoor golf

It seems like it's been raining a lot since I've been down here. Every time I want to go out and do something outside, it seems like it starts thundering. Oh well, I guess that I shouldn't really complain. After all, I've always got Jack Nicklaus 5 in here to keep me company. I've been playing around with trying to design my own holes; the game comes with a course designer. It's tough to translate what you want in your mind to what's on the screen in a way that looks good and plays fair. So I've only finished one hole so far. :)

Wednesday, June 13, 2001

Seasons in the sun

I don't like sunbathing that much. It's just not fun to me, because I can't do anything but lie there. I've tried reading a book, but positioning oneself for concurrent optimal reading comfort and effective body coverage is pretty much impossible. So I don't sunbathe very often.

Well, after getting home and having my mother ask me if I've spent my last few months underground, I decided to bite the bullet and do it. So this morning, after coating my sunburned areas liberally, I went out and laid out there for an hour. Half an hour on each side. That's probably about all the sun I can handle at a time right now without turning myself into a giant lobster.

It wasn't that bad, I guess, but I still feel like I didn't really do much of anything. Then again, I didn't really do much of anything yesterday, either...

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Wouldn't you know...

Today, every time I wanted to get outside and do something, it started raining. I finally just gave up on it and stayed indoors.

I found out last night that my brother-in-law made it into the master's program at Georgia Tech. He'll be taking courses via distance education while he works down here. This is not a surprise at all. Mike's a very smart guy. Had to be...he married my sister. :)

Monday, June 11, 2001

Quick updates

A couple of things:

First, I received my diploma. I have my closure. :)

I'm also growing my goatee again. This might just be a temporary thing (in fact, given the upcoming wedding that I'm participating in, it's almost certainly a temporary thing), but I figured, why not? I'm on vacation.

Sunday, June 10, 2001

Back to Florida

Once again, my travels have led me to Viera, Florida, where my sister and brother-in-law live. I drove down here today with them, going through a couple of monsoons along the way.

My goal for the trip, according to my sister, is to find a golf club that is a good bargain and fun to play. I haven't been able to secure funding yet for this task. :)

Wednesday, June 6, 2001

College closure

I still haven't received my last bill from Alabama. Until I get my bill, I can't pay it. Until I pay my bill, I won't receive my diploma. Until I get my diploma, I won't have closure. I want closure, man!

Monday, June 4, 2001

Sporadic

I realize that recently I haven't updated as much as I normally do. Winding down from moving has seen to that. To catch up: I've played three rounds of golf (and done miserably all three times), done some yard work (and became sunburned in the process), and probably watched more television than I did all last semester. Not a whole lot.

Soon I will start thinking about traveling around some. My sister and brother-in-law are coming up this weekend, so I may follow them back down to Florida.

Thursday, May 24, 2001

Bin packing problem

I think that I'm fighting a losing battle.

I'm attempting to pack my stuff up in preparation for moving day, which will probably happen this Saturday. The problem is, every time I think I have enough boxes, something else pops up that needs to be packed.

I've already made two trips to Wal-Mart, and while admittedly I didn't get many storage bins either time, I chalk that up to foolish optimism. I've already decided that if I go back again, I'm buying the entire storage bin section out.

You'd think that someone who once researched algorithms for the "bin packing problem" would be better at something like this, but no... :)